Top 10 Symptoms You May Have If You Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

top 10
Top 10 Symptoms You May Have If You Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
1. Inability to Orgasm

The frustration of this symptom knows no bounds. The desire is there. The arousal is there. All of the parts that make sex work for you are present, but you’re always at the edge of the cliff and can’t quite fall over. For me, that started nearly 10 years ago. I incorrectly attributed this dysfunction as stressing out over the fact that we moved in with my husband’s elderly father in a home with very thin walls. I thought this was why I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy our interludes. It progressed steadily to the point of being ready to make the fall off the orgasmic cliff peak, but it steadily progressed to pain – a cramp in the vicinity of my butt cheek, thigh or hip. Then I was done. Kaput. Finished. End Scene.

2. Pulling of Internal Scar Tissue

If you have ever had a child, a miscarriage, an abortion, have had a hysterectomy or any other surgical procedures on your lady parts, there is minimal evidence of these ordeals visible to the naked eye unless you’re looking for them. The internal damage can’t be seen but it can be felt and it shouldn’t. The scar tissue will occasionally pull. You’ll feel a twinge or a pinch internally when you stretch, or sneeze or maybe even laugh too long. This is not normal and should be mentioned to your health care provider. Preferably a physician whose sole practice revolves around issues of women’s health. Ask about your pelvic wall.

3. Painful Penetration During Intercourse

Your vagina and muscles of the pelvic wall have elasticity. It’s what allows a baby’s head to pass through the birth canal and enter the world. So there’s no reason a penis shouldn’t fit no matter its width or girth. If at any time entry becomes more difficult than you normally experience, the likely culprit is pelvic wall muscles that have the inability to relax. This is true for both vaginal and anal sex. With enough lubricant, insertion is possible. However, each successive encounter will become increasingly more difficult.

4. Radiating Pain

Pain that is all encompassing in your rump but travels. Up to your low back, down the back of the thigh but not past your knee. It can also travel sideways to involve the hip joint or close to the anus. Wiping after a bowel movement can be painful. This symptom is where a surplus of misdiagnosis occurs. It mimics any condition associated with sciatica and other pinched nerve syndromes.

5. Pain Bone Deep

I had the most difficult time trying to explain to my Orthopedist who misdiagnosed my condition as Sciatica that the pain in my ass hurt so bad it went bone deep. Discussing this with my Physiatrist, she says this is a common complaint. The bones connected to your pelvic wall hurt beyond my ability to properly describe without using language more commonly suited for sailor’s. It’s pretty much constant, and at my worst I went 4 days without a wink of shut-eye. Walking, sitting, on your stomach, kneeling, or flat on your back, there is no relief. My husband would boil water to pour in the bathtub so I could sit in water as hot as I could stand it. The relief lasted for only as long as I was in the tub. The medications I was taking didn’t provide any relief at all.

 picture of a model of the muscles of the pelvic wall - minus bladder and reproductive organs - After Darkk
A picture of a model of the muscles of the pelvic wall, sans bladder and reproductive organs
6. Unexplained Lower Back Pain

Your back hurts. For no apparent reason, and not every day, you have low back pain. It really is surprising how many other muscles are attached to the pelvic floor. The pain could be from full kidneys because you can’t void or from full bowels because you can’t eliminate. However, your unexplained low back pain could be an early warning sign if you don’t have any of the other symptoms. If you have other symptoms, make sure you communicate effectively with your health care provider.

7. Inability to Void Your Bladder

Overactive bladder urge is a common symptom with pelvic floor dysfunction. You feel as if you need to go frequently, but no matter how hard you try, you get no relief. No amount of straining will provide relief. Some women have such severe pelvic wall dysfunction they have to use a catheter at home. Never, under any circumstances, should you ever need to use your abdominal muscles to push urine from your bladder. If this is a something you have to do in order to urinate, mention this problem to a health care provider.

8. Inability to Eliminate Your Bowels

Constipation takes on a whole new meaning. There’s not enough Metamucil in the world to provide aid. Your flat abs start looking like food belly. Or in your second trimester of pregnancy. This can cause secondary health issues if the condition is prolonged. The health experts say a person should have at least one good bowel movement a day. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing good about a bowel movement. Straining to have a bowel movement isn’t uncommon but coming up rabbit pellets is an indication something is wrong.

9. Weight Gain and Fluid Retention

Stepping on a scale and seeing almost 30 pounds extra in a 90-day window can be quite shocking. Both for the person standing on the scale and the doctor reviewing your health records. The unusual part, and yet another warning sign, is that your sizes stay the same. You won’t need bigger britches or a bigger bra. You may need a bigger ring or a more comfortable shoe. It’s water weight from the inability to void your bladder. My weight will fluctuate nearly 15 pounds either way on any given day depending on my ability to use the bathroom.

10. Painful Pap Smears

One of the things I’ve learned through all of this which left me hanging my jaw open in speechlessness was this: Did you know there is absolutely no medical necessary reason under the sun for any physician to perform a Pap smear using a Speculum? They can be done without them. Since the birth of my first child, I have absolutely detested going to for a Pap smear because they hurt. The Qtip to gather tissue didn’t bother me at all. It was the insertion of the speculum, then the spreading of the medical device. My DPT teaches classes on this noninvasive technique. If pain during a Pap smear is something you experience, there is no need. Make a few telephone calls and find a physician in your area who can do them without using a speculum.

I would like to thank Kirsten for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. My hope is the readers have said no to all of these numbered symptoms. If you answered yes to even one of them, please consider an evaluation by a pelvic health expert.

Head on over to my homepage and subscribe to my blog for great posts on pelvic wall dysfunction, sexual wellness, relationships, personal pleasure device reviews, and author recommendations. Subscribe for updates if you’d like. You can also follow me on Twitter @afterrdarkk.

Broken, After Dark

Broken is the pseudonym for the author of blog posts on who can trace the beginning of her sexual dysfunction to almost 10 years ago. After 8 years of self-advocacy and numerous doctors, she was able to get to a physician who was willing to listen to her complaints and actually understand them. Her husband also suffers from a rare neurological disorder called S.U.N.C.T. so she’s no stranger to problems that occur in the bedroom through no fault of your own.

Featured photo via Sam Churchill/Flickr (via

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