The pelvic floor is comprised of a series of muscles that relax when an individual wants to have a bowel movement, allowing for the rectum’s contents to empty. For patients with a dysfunctional pelvic floor, when it is time for a bowel movement the pelvic floor musculature contracts instead of relaxing, making the process of defecation extremely difficult. Other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include constipation, the feeling of needing to attempt a bowel movement repeatedly within a short time frame, the sensation of incomplete emptying of the rectum when having a bowel movement, and sporadic bowel incontinence.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be diagnosed with a comprehensive medical evaluation, following by a defecating proctogram test. During this procedure, the patient is given an enema of a thick liquid that is detectable via an x-ray video, which then records the movement of the pelvic floor musculature and the rectum while the individual attempts to evacuate his or her bowels in order to determine if the pelvic floor relaxes appropriately during bowel evacuation.
If the defecating proctogram demonstrates that the patient’s pelvic floor dysfunction is due to non-relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, the optimal course of treatment may be a specialized physical therapy known as biofeedback. During biofeedback sessions, a therapist will attempt to improve the patient’s pelvic floor muscle coordination and rectal sensation using various visual feedback techniques to improve muscle coordination. Studies have shown that biofeedback therapy significantly improved symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction in approximately 75% of patients; however, for patients whose pelvic floor abnormalities are caused by rectal prolapse or rectocele rather than muscular contraction issues, surgical treatment may be necessary.
For additional information, please use the following link: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
At Pinnacle Colon and Rectal Surgeons, Dr. Ann L. Kalhorn and Dr. Eugene M. Kim are well respected and board certified colon and rectal surgeons. They have received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions pertaining to the colon, rectum and anus. We work collaboratively with you to ease painful symptoms and ensure the safe and successful resolution of your colorectal issues. If you would like additional information about treatment, please contact our office today. We look forward to speaking with you and to scheduling your consultation with Dr. Kalhorn or Dr. Kim.