Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Specialist

Edmunds Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology located in Knoxville, TN

Your pelvic floor muscles act like a hammock that supports the organs in your lower abdominal region. Unfortunately, these muscles can weaken, leading to a condition known as pelvic floor dysfunction that can cause embarrassing symptoms like fecal or urinary incontinence. Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction and can devise a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. For an evaluation from an experienced team, call the office today or book an appointment online.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Q & A

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a condition where the muscles of the pelvic floor do not function correctly. This can cause both bowel and urinary symptoms. Abnormalities of the pelvic muscles can result in either a change in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation or even fecal incontinence.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is caused whenever there is excessive trauma to the pelvic floor either from vaginal deliveries or longstanding constipation and/or diarrhea. Other possible causes include pelvic floor surgery and radiation to this area.

What are the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction?

With pelvic floor dysfunction you may experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Marked change in bowel habits, including constipation or diarrhea
  • Significant bloating
  • Abdominal pain and cramping

A sense of incomplete evacuation is often encountered, particularly if you have rectal prolapse, which is when a portion of your rectum exits out through your anus, associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. You may also need to change position, such as, putting your legs up on a stool or lifting up in the perirectal area in order to defecate.

How is pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosed?

Dr. Edmunds and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology conduct several tests to diagnose pelvic floor dysfunction. Some of the tests you may need include:

  • Defecography, where the muscles of defecation are evaluated radiographically
  • Anorectal manometry, to assess the strength of the pelvic floor muscles
  • Nerve condition study called electromyography, to evaluate the nerves of the pelvic floor muscles

In addition to diagnostic testing, Dr. Edmunds and his team also review your symptoms, medical history, and perform a physical exam.

How is pelvic floor dysfunction treated?

A variety of modalities are used to treat pelvic floor dysfunction. Depending upon the cause of your pelvic floor dysfunction and its related change in bowel activity, laxatives can be used if constipation is a predominant symptom and antidiarrheal medication can be used if diarrhea is the main problem. Agents to relax muscles, such as antispasmodics, may also be used.

Nerve dysfunction or damage may be harder to treat, but medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin uptake inhibitors may be beneficial. Biofeedback is also useful in retraining pelvic floor musculature to optimize coordination of the pelvic muscles.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to issues you may find embarrassing to discuss with your physician, but treatment is available to alleviate your symptoms. Call Edmunds Gastroenterology today or request an appointment online.

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.