Pressure, aching, slight pain, frequent urination and the sensation that your insides are falling out. That is an accurate description of what women with pelvic floor tension myalgia (PFTM) feel. The odd feelings are often chalked up as constipation, but it is much more than a bowel or bladder problem and fortunately the condition is easily treatable.
Symptoms of PFTM
Constant pressure, pain or discomfort in the pelvic region are symptoms or if these symptoms only occur during intercourse. Changes in bladder or bowel habits accompanied by discomfort or the sensation of your insides trying to drop out can also indicate the presence of PFTM.
Muscles along the floor (bottom of your abdominal cavity) of the pelvis form a sling that supports your pelvic organs. These organs include the vagina, rectum, bladder and uterus. Those supportive muscles can become weak over time due to pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, straining during bowel movements, stress and aging. About half of the women over the age of 50 experience symptoms of pelvic floor tension myalgia to some degree.
There are two types of PFTM; One is caused by the supportive ‘sling’ muscles becoming too weak, the second type is caused when the muscles become too tense.
When the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to properly support the internal organs you get the sensation of your insides falling out. If the muscles are too tense, painful spasms can be triggered by a variety of things like a bladder infection or hemorrhoids.
Diagnosis is made via pelvic exam, but the condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as overactive bladder or chronic constipation. If you are being treated for one of these conditions, yet still experiencing the sensation of your insides falling out or pelvic pain, re-visit your gynecologist and suggest pelvic floor tension myalgia to her.
Treatment for PFTM
Treatment for either type of PFTM is relatively easy. Kegel exercises are used to strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles so organs are held in their proper places.
Tense pelvic muscles are treated with heat (heating pad and warm baths), prescription muscle relaxants, acupuncture, biofeedback and/or physical therapy. Surgery may also benefit some women suffering with pelvic floor tension myalgia.