Social Security Disability Lawyers: OC, Riverside & San Bernardino
Pelvic Floor Syndrome
The term “pelvic floor syndrome” describes a dysfunction of the muscles of the pelvic floor that can result in severe pelvic pain or lower back pain. The Cleveland Clinic describes it as an “inability to correctly relax and coordinate your pelvic floor muscles.” It is a condition that can occur as a result of other underlying problems, or it can occur on its own.
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles found at the base of the pelvis that surround and support the bladder, uterus (women), prostate (men), and rectum. They are the muscles that help you pass stool and urine, and when they are not working properly, symptoms such as urine or stool incontinence may occur.
Symptoms include pain on urination or during defecation. In women, pelvic floor dysfunction may result in painful intercourse, and in men there may be erectile dysfunction or severe pelvic pain that resemble prostatitis. Other symptoms include constipation, straining to defecate, urinary frequency, painful urination, painful muscle spasms, and incontinence of urine or feces.
In order to have a bowel movement or pass urine, the pelvic floor muscles must be able to work together to contract when it is necessary and then to relax. When these muscles are not working together, problems arise.
There are certain conditions that are associated with pelvic floor syndrome. They include prior pregnancy in women, pelvic surgery (e.g., hysterectomy in women or prostatectomy in men), trauma or injury to the pelvic area (e.g., motor vehicle accident), obesity, chronic bowel disorders, interstitial cystitis, or just getting older.
Sometimes there are hereditary and familial factors. However, some people develop pelvic floor syndrome for unknown reasons with no apparent predisposing factors.
“Kegel” exercises that include stopping your urinary stream several times in the middle of urination or doing a “Valsalva” (straining) maneuver, help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Relaxation techniques, using biofeedback, and physical therapy can be helpful. Muscle relaxant medications are sometimes prescribed as well.
Many patients who have pelvic floor dysfunction can be helped with proper treatment. Urologists, gynecologists, physical therapists, and other doctors and healthcare providers can successfully treat patients with this condition.
However, despite treatment, there are some patients who develop refractory pelvic floor syndrome, which can be disabling.
A useful medical article entitled “Chronic proctalgia and chronic pelvic pain syndromes: New etiologic insights and treatment options,” has been published in World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct 28; 17(40): 4447–4455 by Chiarioni, G, Asteria C, and Whitehead W. The article points out that pelvic floor problems may occur in up to 24% of persons, but treatment is fortunately successful in 85%.
For persons with pelvic floor syndrome who are applying for long-term disability (LTD) benefits, under SSDI or under a private group disability plan (ERISA), careful documentation by your treating physician(s) is important in order to document your symptoms and how they impact your ability to perform your job.
At Law Med, we are experienced and knowledgeable with SSDI and ERISA claims and are here to help.