What are the symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles?

 The term pelvic floor is often confusing as the pelvic floor is not a single muscle, but rather a series of muscles supporting many areas of your body. Because these muscles support so many things, the symptoms of having weak pelvic floor muscles can range a great deal.

The pelvic floor is like a hammock that stretches between your tailbone and your pubic bone. It also stretches across your body from hip to hip. The pelvic floor muscles support all function of your private area, both sexual function and urination and defecation function.  The pelvic floor also supports your core and aids in strengthening your body posture and body control.

We’ll start by defining the most common symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles, and then go into a little more detail explaining each of the symptoms thoroughly. By the end of this article you should understand in detail the symptoms of a weak pelvic floor.

Keep in mind when dealing with symptoms - just because you experience any of these symptoms does not guarantee that the reason for your symptoms is a weak pelvic floor. As is often the case with our bodies, many symptoms that we experience may have many potential explanations. For example let’s take a headache.  It could be the result of neck strain, lack of sleep, exposure to sun, emotional tension, or any one of a number of their issues. The same could be said for symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles.  Just because you may experience one of the symptoms, or many of the symptoms does not automatically guarantee that the reason for the symptoms is a weak pelvic floor.

 

Here are the 12 most common symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles:

 

  1. Leaking small amounts of urine during stressful activities such as sneezing, laughing, running, or coughing
  2. Passing wind unintentionally when bending over or lifting
  3. Experiencing tampons that fall out or dislodge from your vagina
  4. reduced sensations of the vagina
  5. sudden urge to urinate
  6. needing to urinate more than eight times through the day, and or more than once during the night
  7. accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowels, or accidentally passing wind
  8. frequent urinary tract infections
  9. Pain in your pelvic area
  10. difficulty fully emptying your bladder or bowel
  11. Prolapse, which could include a bulge in the vagina or rectum, or a feeling of heaviness, pulling, drooping, or dropping internally. For men, a prolapse can be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to empty the bowels but not actually needing to go.
  12. Pain, pressure, or an uncomfortable sensation during sex

 

As you can see by the symptoms list of weak pelvic floor muscles, there are many potential symptoms when dealing with your pelvic floor. As I said previously, experiencing one or two of these symptoms does not guarantee that a weak pelvic floor is the reason behind it. As with any physical challenge in your body, it is important to discuss your situation with a professional.

 

Further analysis – Symptoms of a weak pelvic floor:

Now that we have provided an overview on symptoms of a weak pelvic floor, let’s dive a little deeper into each one:

Leaking small amounts of urine during stressful activities such as sneezing, laughing, running, or coughing.

This condition is referred to as stress incontinence, specifically urinary stress incontinence. If you ever had a minor leakage accident while on a trampoline, jogging, or had the need to cross your legs when laughing hard, or have been afraid to sneeze for fear of a leak, you are likely experiencing urinary stress incontinence.

Passing wind unintentionally when bending over or lifting.

Well embarrassing, passing wind by accident during the process of lifting or bending over can be a sign of a weak pelvic floor muscle system. The muscles that control your sphincter are part of the pelvic floor, and there are a number of pelvic floor muscles surrounding your anus.  If these muscles are weakened it is more likely for you to have embarrassing wind passing experiences.

Experiencing tampons that fall out or dislodge from your vagina

Having tampons dislodge from your vagina could be a symptom of a weak pelvic floor. There is a series of pelvic floor muscles called the bulbospongiosus muscles which make up part of your pelvic floor that support the structure of your vagina.  Weaking of these muscles can lead to issues such as tampons dislodging from your vagina, which is a symptom of a weak pelvic floor.

Reduced sensations of the vagina

Reduction in sensations of your vagina could be a symptom of a weak pelvic floor. If you just can’t feel the way you used to feel it could be because your pelvic floor muscles are weak.

Sudden urge to urinate

A sudden need to urinate is called overactive bladder. Overactive bladder essentially feels like having your desire to urinate going from 0 to 9 in one second. If you suddenly need to use the bathroom to urinate it is likely you are experiencing overactive bladder. Because your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder as well as your urethra, a common cause of overactive bladder is weak pelvic floor muscles. Exercising and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will reduce overactive bladder.

Needing to urinate more than eight times through the day, and or more than once during the night

Needing to urinate often is another sign of overactive bladder. This is often the case because your body is unable to fully empty your bladder at each sitting, thereby reducing the capacity of your bladder. If you find yourself getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to urinate, you likely have overactive bladder.

Accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowels, or accidentally passing wind

If you lose control of your bladder or bowels by accident this is another sign of a weak pelvic floor muscle system. Additionally, losing control of your bowels or bladder by accident could be caused by reduction of sensitivity. Weak pelvic floor muscles are not the only potential reason that you may be accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowels, as we age sometimes the signal sent between our body and our brain weaken which can also cause this issue.

 Frequent urinary tract infections

Some studies have shown that frequent urinary tract infections can be a sign of a weak pelvic floor. While the reasoning behind this is not fully understood, and there are many other potential reasons for getting frequent UTIs, it is possible that having a weak pelvic floor muscles will increase the chances of getting a UTI.

Pain in your pelvic area

Pain in your pelvic area could be a sign that you have weak pelvic floor muscles.  Keep in mind that there are many reasons for pelvic pain, so if you are experiencing pelvic pain is highly recommended to speak with a healthcare professional about it.

 Difficulty fully emptying your bladder or bowel

A feeling or sensation of not being able to fully empty your bladder or bowel can be a symptom of a weak pelvic floor. The muscles used in the process of urination and defecation, both automatic muscles and manual muscles are all part of the pelvic floor.

A prolapse, which could include a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness pulling drooping or dropping internally. For men, a prolapse can be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to empty the bowels but not actually needing to go.

Prolapse is a fairly common symptom of weak pelvic floor. The muscles within your pelvis are designed to hold several organs in place.  For women, this includes the bladder, the uterus, the bowel, and the urethra, as well as the anus.  For men, this includes the urethra bladder and bowel. When the muscles weaken, this can lead to organ prolapse. The most common type of organ prolapse is Cystocele, which is the prolapse of the bladder into the vagina.  Weak pelvic floor muscles can also lead to urethrocele, which is the prolapse of the urethra, uterine prolapse, vagina vault prolapse, which is the prolapse of the vagina , enterocele, which is the small bowel prolapse , and finally rectocele, which is a rectum prolapse. .

Painful or uncomfortable sex:

Painful sex is another common symptom of a weak pelvic floor. Painful sex can have a number of causes, so it is important to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience painful sex. Pelvic floor therapy can help reduce painful sex symptoms.

 

What can be done about weak pelvic floor muscles?

 

If you have some of these symptoms, you may want to consider exercising and strengthening your weak pelvic floor muscles. There are several ways to do this and I will link to an article that goes through some options for you.

 At YoniFlex, we offer an automatic EMS pelvic floor trainer that is designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles without manual effort.  This is fantastic for those who don’t have the physical strength in their pelvic floor muscles to manually contract them, and for those who are challenged with the traditional pelvic floor exercise – kegels.  Think of our YoniFlex as an automatic kegel machine!  If you’d like more information on our medical device, please click here

 

Peace and love,

 

Tricia

 

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