Pelvic Floor Disorder

Colorectal Surgery located in San Antonio, TX

Pelvic Floor Disorder services offered in San Antonio, TX

The pelvic floor muscles support your rectum and bladder and enable you to retain and release stools and urine when you wish. If you have pelvic floor disorder symptoms, visit fellowship-trained colorectal surgeon Tamara Merchant-McCambry, MD, at Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio. Dr. Merchant-McCambry uses proven approaches like biofeedback and physical therapy to reduce the effects of a weak or damaged pelvic floor. Call the office in San Antonio, Texas, or book an appointment online today to access specialized pelvic floor disorder treatment.

Pelvic Floor Disorder Q&A

What is pelvic floor disorder?

Pelvic floor disorder affects the muscles that control bowel movements. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and rectum, the vagina in women, and the prostate in men.

If you can’t contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles correctly, you could develop incontinence (an inability to hold onto urine and stools until you reach a toilet) and/or constipation (hardened, dry stools that are difficult to pass).

Why would I have pelvic floor disorder?

The most common reasons for developing pelvic floor disorder include:

  • Traumatic pelvic injuries
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Pelvic surgery
  • Excessive body weight
  • Older age
  • Family history

Overusing your pelvic muscles by visiting the bathroom too often or straining too hard can sometimes trigger pelvic floor disorder. A rectal prolapse, when the bowel bulges down through the anus, can also occur.

What symptoms does pelvic floor disorder cause?

Pelvic floor disorder symptoms include:

  • Frequently needing the toilet
  • Having to force stool or urine out
  • Stopping and starting repeatedly
  • Straining pain during bowel movements
  • Leaking urine
  • Painful urination
  • Lower back pain
  • Long-term pelvic, genital, or rectal pain

Men with pelvic floor disorder can develop ED erectile dysfunction (an inability to get or maintain an erection during sex). Women with pelvic floor disorder might experience painful intercourse.

Another symptom of pelvic floor disorder is fecal incontinence. This is a distressing problem where you can’t retain stools in your rectum long enough to reach a bathroom. A pelvic floor problem compounds weaknesses in the anal sphincter resulting from childbirth or prostate surgery, leading to fecal incontinence.

How is pelvic floor disorder diagnosed?

To diagnose pelvic floor disorder, Dr. Merchant-McCambry reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms, and completes a physical exam. She checks how well you control your pelvic muscles and looks for knots, spasms, and weaknesses.

Dr. Merchant-McCambry might do an intrarectal (inside the rectum) or vaginal exam. She may also place electrodes on your perineum (the area between the vagina or testicles and rectum) or the sacrum bone at the spine’s base to assess your pelvic muscle control.

For a defecating proctogram, also called a defecography, you have a thick liquid (enema) in your rectum. A special X-ray video records your pelvic muscle movements as you push the liquid out. 

Similarly, the uroflow procedure shows how well you empty your bladder.

How is pelvic floor disorder treated?

Physical therapy and medication like a stool softener are necessary for treating pelvic floor disorder. Biofeedback to retrain your pelvic floor muscles is painless and helps over 75% of patients.

If these treatments don’t help, you might benefit from injections containing a local anesthetic and muscle relaxant.

Call Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio or book an appointment online today for expert pelvic floor disorder treatment.