Can pelvic floor dysfunction cause nausea, constipation, bowel problems?

Unusual symptoms . . .

The pelvic floor and pelvic area consists of your pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, lower spine and a variety of internal organs such as your bladder, bowels and womb (in women). It is possible to experience a range of symptoms in this area. Because symptoms are usually localised to the pelvic area, nausea is not a symptom associated with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause bladder symptoms such as urinary urgency, frequency during the day or night, hesitation in starting the flow of urine or urinary leakage.

It can also cause bowel symptoms such as leakage of wind or stools, constipation or incomplete bowel emptying. A pelvic organ prolapse in women may make bowel emptying more difficult, but other issues such as haemorrhoids (piles) or tiny tears called anal fissures may cause bleeding and pain when opening the bowels.

It is important to get unusual or persistent bowel symptoms checked out by your GP. There are other symptoms in the pelvis and pelvic floor that are normally unrelated to pelvic floor dysfunction (as far as we know), and these should also be discussed with your GP.

Pelvic floor dysfunction may also cause sexual issues such as painful sex, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.

Alternatively, you may experience a pain or ache in the pelvis or pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor trauma (such as a tear during childbirth), or pain in the pelvic floor may impact on the ease with which you can empty your bowels. Some people will have a long history of constipation and pelvic floor issues may be part of the problem, but are unlikely to be the main cause.

There are other symptoms in the pelvis and pelvic floor that are normally unrelated to pelvic floor dysfunction (as far as we know), and these should be discussed with your GP.

These include for men and women:

  • Unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • Needing to urinate (wee) more regularly
  • Pain or burning on passing urine
  • Blood in the urine or stools (poo)
  • Unexpected and significant weight loss

They also include for women:

  • Increased abdominal size and persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
  • Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
  • Persistent nausea
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (often occurring after sex)
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Post-menopausal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • A lump or mass in the vagina
  • Vulval pain or soreness
  • Persistent vulval itching
  • A lump on the vulva
  • Thickened, raised patches on the vulva which can be red, white or dark

See your GP if you have any symptoms that concern you or that persist. You can also see a pelvic health physiotherapist for a personalised pelvic floor assessment. Find one near you in the Squeezy directory.

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