4 Weak Pelvic Floor Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore – SheKnows

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One of the greatest supporters in life is your pelvis. Not only does it keep your bladder and other internal organs from falling out, but it’s also the reason you’re able to use the bathroom without incident. 

Yet even the pelvis is not immune to Father Time. Aging decreases pelvic function, explains Uchenna (UC) Ossai, DPT, a pelvic health physical therapist at YouSeeLogic. Pelvic muscle strength gets weaker and bad habits such as holding in your urine, hovering over a toilet, sitting all day with poor posture, and straining to push out feces also take a toll on your pelvis.

Age is one factor, but it’s not the only one to consider. Despite what people say about old age, your body is designed to thrive exceptionally throughout your lifespan. The act of aging alone is not a prescription for poor pelvic health. In fact, being of older age can be an advantage because you possess more body knowledge. “You know your body better than anybody and if something isn’t feeling right to you, find someone that will listen,” says Ossai. “Everyone has a right to feel good, no matter what.”

Even if your pelvis feels completely fine now, you want to keep an eye on any warning signals that your pelvic floor is not doing too well. 

Leaky urine

Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control when you can’t hold in your urine. This happens because the pelvic floor muscles can weaken over time, putting extra strain on the muscles in the urinary tract to hold urine until you’re ready to go.

The condition can happen at any age, but it is more prevalent among older women. Over 40 percent of women 70 years and older worldwide deal with some form of urinary leakage. Even something unrelated, like a cough, sneeze, or a laugh, can make you pass a bit of urine. It can happen at any moment and cause some embarrassing scenarios.

“It’s never normal to pee your pants. It does not matter if you’re 15 playing basketball, a new mom, or 85,” explains Ossai. “If you have incontinence, something is wrong.”

Urinary tract infection

Pelvic floor dysfunction can mimic the signs of a UTI. People might have trouble getting their pelvic muscles to relax enough to pass urine or have a bowel movement. There are several causes behind pelvic floor dysfunction, but one is chronic stress. Continued stress can cause people to constantly clench their pelvic floor muscles, making it harder for the muscles to remove the tension. 


Recurrent UTIs are not exclusive to pelvic floor issues, says Ossai. Women experiencing menopause may develop UTIs because the drop in estrogen changes the vaginal pH. This change thins out vaginal tissue and shifts the delicate balance of the vaginal microbiome to favor an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.

Painful sex

Dyspareunia is the medical term for extreme and persistent pain during penetrative sex. You might feel a sharp burning pain coming from deep in the pelvis area from deeper thrusting or insertion of a finger or toy. If the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, it becomes harder to get them to relax and allow movement during intercourse. 

Between 13 to 84 percent of postmenopausal women experience vaginal pain during intercourse, with pelvic floor tension being one of the many reasons behind the discomfort. 

Bulge in the vagina

Pelvic organ prolapse happens when one or more organs held in the pelvis move from their normal position and fall down into or out of the vaginal wall. This causes a noticeable swelling in the vagina and a feeling of heaviness like you’re sitting on a ball. The condition happens because the pelvic muscle tissues can no longer hold the bladder and other organs in place.

Ossai says people with pelvic organ prolapse need treatment from a pelvic specialist who can properly teach them how to engage and strengthen their pelvic floor before they do activities like running and jumping.





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