Pelvic Floor Disorders

What is Pelvic Floor Pain?

There is a difference between acute pelvic pain (APP) and chronic pelvic pain (CPP). Acute pelvic pain is the sudden onset of pelvic floor pain that can be caused by childbirth, a fall (trauma to the coccyx bone, testes and penis is common during sports and exercise), sexual trauma, bacterial infections, endometriosis, and surgeries. Muscles, connective tissue, nerves and organs in this very sensitive area can become damaged and exquisitely painful. Chronic pelvic pain is defined as having pelvic pain for more than six months. Pain becomes the ‘new normal’ (low back pain is common) for many patients with flare-ups occurring with exercise, sexual activity, standing or even sitting. Patients who have a history of prolonged sitting (television editors, accountants, truck drivers, school teachers who must sit all day at desk) can develop chronic pelvic pain over time. There is no discrimination between males and females as this dysfunction affects both sexes. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, low libido, and affect every aspect of a person’s life.

Although quite often the cause of pelvic floor pain/dysfunction is idiopathic (cause is not known), typically pain occurs because the muscles of the pelvic floor have lost their ability to function properly. These muscles surround the pelvic floor like a basket and support the prostate, uterus, bladder, rectum, testes, penis, uterus, and vagina. Pain is experienced when any or a combination of these muscles contract and lose their ability to relax. This is turn can manifest as urinary incontinence, leaking stool, severe constipation and/or incomplete movement of the bowels in general. Because the other structures of the pelvic floor are supported by the pelvic floor muscles, dysfunction of the sex organs is a common reason for treatment.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pelvic region is where the Du (The Governing Channel) and the Ren (The Conception Channel) begin. This is where life itself is formed (sperm and eggs), and the ‘seat of the Ming Men’ (imagine the engine room of a large steam ship) lives. This is also where several meridians responsible for proper function of bones, connective tissue, muscles, nerves, organs, digestion, and urination course. Injury of any type to the tissues and structures of the pelvic floor will affect the smooth flow of Qi and Blood in these channels and ultimately their paired channels. This is the very reason why pelvic floor dysfunction takes its toll on so many other structures of the human body. The key to treating these conditions is that Traditional Chinese Medicine also takes into consideration the entire person, so the body-mind connection is very important when creating a patient’s treatment protocol. I treat not only the underlying condition and the pain associated with the dysfunction, but also the stress, anxiety and emotional duress that pelvic floor pain often causes persons suffering with pelvic floor pain.

perineal muscles

Pelvic Floor Conditions Treated at Golden Acupuncturist ™

Sexual

Men and women can experience a problem during the sexual response cycle from foreplay to orgasm to resolution. Sexual dysfunction is more common as we age. Stress and emotional issues, past experiences, lifestyles and religious beliefs, relationships, pelvic floor disorders (erectile dysfunction, painful sex, internal scar tissue, muscle tightness), and a person’s comfort level with intimacy are all causes of sexual dysfunction.

Painful

can be experienced by both men and women during and after sexual intercourse. Men can be affected by small tears around the foreskin eliciting stinging & burning, a tight foreskin when pushed back during sex, pain and swelling of the testicles (sometimes caused by infection or from not ejaculating) and inflammation of the prostate gland. STIs, hormonal changes, allergic reactions to spermacides, latex condoms or other hygienic products, and vaginal dryness can all cause discomfort and pain for women in the labia and/or vagina. Internal pelvic pain during or after sexual intercourse can be caused by fibroids, endometriosis, post partum scarring, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation.

Painful

In general, this condition is experienced by men, but women also can suffer from painful orgasm. Females describe painful orgasms as pain and/or cramping in the rectal or lower abdominal regions. A much more common condition for men, they can experience pain or a burning sensation during ejaculation. The pain is typically felt in the area between the anus and genitals, and/or in the urethra (the tube where the semen passes through just prior to ejaculation).

Some causes of painful orgasm in men include:

prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate gland which is directly involved with the production of semen.
orchitis – inflammation of one or both testes. The testes are glands which produce sperm.
urethritis – inflammation of the urethra. This is the tube where the semen travels just prior to ejaculation.
sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
prostate cancer
radiation to the pelvic region
surgery of the pelvic region
nerve damage to the penis – caused by trauma to the tissue or effects of diabetes
cysts, stones or other blockages in the ejaculatory system
chronic pelvic pain
psychological or emotional issues

Erectile

This can be one of the most frustrating sexual conditions for men that can seriously affect their relationships and cause tremendous anxiety and stress, which exacerbates the condition. ED is defined as trouble achieving an erection, keeping it long enough for coitus, and/or lack of/ or decrease in sexual desire. An erection is the result of communication between hormones, blood vessels, nerves, the brain and psyche. Any condition of these can cause ED. Physiological causes of ED include: heart disease, hypertension, atherosclerosis (blocked blood vessels), obesity, diabetes, neurological conditions (Parkinson’s Disease, M.S.), prescription or non prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco, Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue build up within the penis), prostatectomy or prostate disease, radiation therapy to the pelvic region, and constant pressure on the testes and penis (eg: long distance cycling). The older a man becomes, the more he might need physical stimulation or foreplay to achieve an erection.

Generalized

The list of causes for generalized pelvic pain is long. Causes of pelvic pain for women can stem from the following: muscular-skeletal, and connective tissue conditions, disorders of the digestive, reproductive, urinary and/or neurological systems, endometriosis, adenomyosis (endometrial tissue invades and grows on uterine wall), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, dysmenorrhea, vulvodynia, pain during ovulation, ovarian cancer, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages and other pregnancy-related conditions.
Causes of generalized pelvic pain that affect both men and women include: IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, obstructions, stones, cysts, hernias, fibromyalgia, prostatitis, spasms of pelvic floor muscles, physical or sexual abuse, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Post

Surgery affects muscles, connective tissue and nerves. This can cause pain, erythema, edema and hypoesthesia (numbness) of the area of surgery.

Prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate gland can be acute or chronic. It is commonly caused by bacterial infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects women only. Signs of PCOS include excessive menstrual bleeding, prolonged or infrequent periods, and signs of high levels of male hormones (notably facial hair), and excessive weight gain. PCOS affects development of follicles that release eggs and ultimately inhibits a woman’s ability to conceive. There is no precisely defined cause of PCOS, although genetic predisposition, excess insulin, androgen, and low-grade inflammation are common factors. Complications of PCOS include infertility, fatty accumulations in the liver, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, cancer of the uterine lining, anxiety and depression, metabolic syndrome (a combined condition of hypertension, high blood sugar and triglycerides), and increased risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Endometriosis

is a common disorder in females and occurs when tissue that normally grows and sloughs during the menstrual cycle inside the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Endometrial tissue typically spreads to the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue that lines the pelvis. It is rare that endometrial tissue spreads past the pelvic floor but it has been known to happen with serious complications. This condition is very painful because the endometrial tissue doesn’t know it is thriving outside of the uterus and when it grows, breaks down and bleeds during every menstrual cycle, it has no place to exit the body. Normally, the broken down tissue would exit from the uterus and out of the body via the vagina. If the ovaries are involved, the constant growth and breakdown of the endometrial tissue on the ovaries can create irritation and scarring. It can also create fibrous tissue that will ‘stick’ to pelvic tissue and organs. Endometrial pain can be quite severe and increase over time as the area is affected on a constant basis. Pain during periods, intercourse, bowel movements and urination is common. Excess fatigue, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation and nausea may be experienced during the period along with excessive bleeding and clots.

Scar

scar tissue from surgery, infection, or endometriosis (in women) can cause internal organs to ‘stick’ to connective tissue. This restricts normal movements of internal organs resulting in pain and inability to move freely. Note: scar tissue does not always cause pain!

Yeast

also known as cadidiasis, vaginal yeast infections are caused by a fungal infection. There will be irritation, discharge (sometimes with a ‘fishy’ smell or cottage cheese consistency), and severe itching and/or burning of the vagina and the vulva. This is not a sexually transmitted disease but more commonly occurs at the onset of first experience of coitus on a regular basis. Some causes of vaginal yeast infections are uncontrolled diabetes (yeast thrives on sugar), antibiotics use (antibiotics kill the ‘good’ bacteria in the body that protects you from yeast infections), douching, sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, and hormonal and/or immune system disorders.

Urinary

these infections affect both men and women, but women are at greater risk simply because of their anatomical geography. A UTI is defined as any infection in your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most common UTIs seen are in the bladder and the urethra. UTIs are not to be trifled with and one should seek immediate attention and care of an m.d. Most UTIs are treated with antibiotics, but should the infection travel into the kidneys, serious and life threatening events can occur. Signs that should alert an individual to a UTI are strong and increased urge to urinate and burning upon urination, frequent urination, urine that appears cloudy, or has a strong smell, and pain in the lower abdomen, and/or pubic region. If the urine contains blood or is orange/tea-colored, there is lower back pain, vomit, high fever (104 degrees F or higher), and chills – this is a sign to seek immediate medical attention as this is an indication that the kidneys are involved.

Incontinence

urinary incontinence simply means there is a loss of bladder control and there will be leaking urine. This can occur while sneezing, coughing, running, jumping or exercising or simply a sudden urge to urinate. This condition is more prevalent as we age, but quite commonly seen in post-partum women. Weak pelvic floor muscles, recent surgeries, radiation to the region, inflammation of the bladder lining, enlarged prostate, neurological conditions, and obesity can all be factors for incontinence.

Constipation

urinary incontinence simply means there is a loss of bladder control and there will be leaking urine. This can occur while sneezing, coughing, running, jumping or exercising or simply a sudden urge to urinate. This condition is more prevalent as we age, but quite commonly seen in post-partum women. Weak pelvic floor muscles, recent surgeries, radiation to the region, inflammation of the bladder lining, enlarged prostate, neurological conditions, and obesity can all be factors for incontinence.

Postpartum

many women complain of the head, neck, shoulder and back pain after giving birth. Complications of pregnancy can cause adhesions and scarring and cause pelvic and perineal pain.

Acupuncture and photobiomodulation therapy can help reduce and/or eliminate many of the above-mentioned conditions. These combined modalities of treatment can help reduce the inflammation of the affected area, improve blood circulation, signal the Central Nervous System to transport hormones and neurotransmitters to clear heat and inflammation, rebuild nerve and connective tissue and calm the sympathetic nervous system and relax tight muscles. Treating the stress and anxiety that is common for patients experiencing these conditions is a key component of the individual treatment strategy.


Are you suffering from sexual dysfunction caused by pelvic floor pain, are you embarrassed by your condition? If you looking for a specialist in Downtown Manhattan that can treat your pelvic floor disorders in a safe, private atmosphere with the utmost respect and confidentiality, come visit us at the Golden Acupuncturist® clinic. Our Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center is well known in Manhattan and the entire New York City for successfully treating pelvic floor disorders. Gentle needling is utilized distally and sometimes locally, but Photobiomodulation (NIR) Therapy is the predominant tool for your treatment. This is a painless and noninvasive method to treat your condition so you can live your life painlessly and fully once again.

We at Golden Acupuncturist® use Traditional Chinese Medicine for treatment of Pelvic Floor Disorders, call us today 917-701-7582