Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is dysfunction in the muscles of the pelvic floor. It can be something called hypotonic, where the muscles are extremely lax. And there is something called hypertonic. Pelvic floor hypertonia is where the muscles are short, spastic, and weaker, and essentially there’s reduced capacity for the muscles to lengthen. Therefore, they are not supporting the above structures as well as we would like them to be, including the bladder, the uterus, and the colon, as well as the hips and the lower spine and sacrum.
In addition, when the muscles are short, spastic, and weaker, there is less blood flow to the area. And when there’s less blood flow, there’s less oxygenation, and this can lead to a drop in the pH levels. And this essentially is what stimulates something called an inflammatory cascade. And when this whole inflammatory cascade is stimulated, you get release of these pro-inflammatory cytokines that we describe as an inflammatory seep, and this is what ultimately leads to neurogenic inflammation, where the nerves of the pelvis then start to fire inappropriately.
So the symptoms that can come with this are: rectal burning, rectal pain, pain with sitting, burning with intercourse, pain with bowel movements, urinary urgency, frequency, and burning with urination, all related to both the muscle dysfunction, where the muscles are in spasm and weaker, and then, eventually, over time, causing inflammation in the peripheral nervous system.