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Pelvic floor dysfunction is typically diagnosed through a combination of clinical history, physical exam, and sometimes tests. Most often the subtle signs and symptoms leading to the more commonly understood symptoms are missed because they are looked at as their own separate issue. To learn more about those, read my blog, “Subtle signs of pelvic floor dysfunction.”

Common Diagnostic Tests For Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Unfortunately, in the world of medicine, pelvic floor dysfunction is:

  • Incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Painful intercourse
  • Failed treatments and
  • Chronic constipation

In general, it is the end of ‘line’ symptoms where diagnostic tests assessing the function of the organ involved are looked at.

When it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction, there are plenty of presentations that show negative studies such as MRI or X-ray. Additionally, not every test is positive despite the condition being present. So putting faith in diagnostic tests for the presence of pelvic floor dysfunction is not always the wisest decision. For the purpose of this blog, I am outlining the common MEDICAL tests which are not necessarily applicable to the organ-related causes of pelvic floor dysfunction!

Physical Exam:

In the world of medicine, typically the medical physician will do an examination that may or may not involve a rectal exam. Unfortunately, this is when the biomechanical reasons for pelvic floor dysfunction are missed because a medical physician hardly ever examines for functional movement. Not because they don’t care, but because they hardly have the proper training to recognize the subtle signs. This is not to downplay their training but their training is in a world that is different than what biomechanical assessment requires.

They may also look for signs of prolapse, which is when the pelvic organs sag into the vaginal or rectal areas. Lastly, they may refer out for the proper assessment of those organs to a urologist, urogynecologist, or gynecologist.

Urodynamic Testing:

This test evaluates bladder function and involves measuring urine flow, bladder pressure, and the capacity of the bladder.

Cystoscopy:

This is a procedure where a small tube with a camera is inserted into the urethra to visualize the bladder and urethra.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

MRI scans are typically ordered by a medical physician to view the pelvic organs and tissues to identify any underlying conditions or abnormalities. What should happen here is identifying any soft tissue abnormalities such as disc herniation, ligament laxity, or nerve pressure that force the body to modify its movement patterns.

Electromyography (EMG):

This test measures the electrical activity of the muscles in the pelvic floor to evaluate their strength and function.

These tests unfortunately are positive when quite a bit of things are found. In reality, treatments are much simpler when they are not advanced. Regardless of if the cause of pelvic floor dysfunction is related to the internal organs or not, issues even related to the internal organs directly impact the whole body including the ‘house’ that the pelvic floor is the floor of.

The negative feedback then keeps the downward spiral going so unless the whole body is treated holistically, the issue of pelvic floor dysfunction continues. In order to properly assess the relationship between our posture, movements, and stability of our pelvis and their contribution to pelvic floor dysfunction, the right examination has to be performed and the relevant factors need to be looked into.

How To Find Out If You Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

At our clinic, we use postural neurology and neurokinesiology to assess and treat the functionality in movement which impacts the stability of the pelvis, regardless of any other treatments that may be taking place. Without a stable pelvis, the organs, muscles, and everything else are in jeopardy. If you think you have pelvic floor dysfunction or are not happy with the treatment you are receiving, do not hesitate to contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Breathing Right for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Pressure Around the Rectum