Constipation is a common disorder. In addition to addressing any anatomic, disease, and diet related causes for a patient’s constipation, the pelvic floor muscles should be addressed. According to the Mayo Clinic, 50% of patients with chronic constipation have pelvic floor dysfunction.
The pelvic floor muscles must contract properly to maintain urinary and fecal continence and relax properly in order for you to void.
When the pelvic floor muscles fail to relax and contract properly this can cause constipation, which is referred to as dyssynergic defecation or anismus. This can then lead to straining with bowel movements and feelings of incomplete evacuation. In patients with constipation related to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), the muscles around the anal region often contract instead of relax during attempted bowel movements. Unfortunately, PFD is not widely recognized as a possible cause of chronic constipation. As a result, many patients with constipation do not receive the treatment that enables them to recover normal bowel habits.
How can Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Help?
A comprehensive evaluation to identify the root musculoskeletal and neuromuscular causes of the patient’s constipation will take place. We will then develop an individualized treatment plan that may include: internal and external manual therapy, nerve gliding/tension release, myofascial release, functional dry needling, stretching, and/or strengthening. Patients also receive instruction in correct elimination techniques to prevent straining, as well as, therapeutic and core-strengthening exercises.