Pain near the internal organs or the pelvis can be a sign of very serious injury, particularly when it occurs after a recent slip and fall or car accident and is associated with feelings of bladder pressure, frequent urination, bowel movement changes, or painful intercourse. These symptoms are often thought of as being related to a urinary infection or other minor issue, but can also be indicative of severe damage to the pelvic floor.
Common Symptoms & Diagnosis of Pelvic Floor Disorder
Many instances of pelvic floor disorder go undiagnosed because people suffering from this have other complaints that distract doctors from the underlying issue. For example, common symptoms of a tailbone or pelvic fracture include abdominal pain, difficulty walking, pain while standing, and trouble urinating. These are substantially similar to the symptoms felt when dealing with a pelvic floor disorder, but require vastly different treatment regimens for healing. In fact, if a fracture is stable and does not require surgical intervention, doctors often tell people to “take it easy” and learn to cope with the temporary pain, assuming the pain will subside as the bones heal. In cases of pelvic floor disorder, this can delay a diagnosis for months until the fracture has healed and the other symptoms remain, prompting another medical examination and further investigation.
Pelvic floor injury not only mirrors the symptoms of damage to abdominal bones and organs, it also presents with symptoms of a sensitive and private nature which are often underreported until they become intolerable. Studies on the topic have found that women experiencing these issues don’t report them to doctors unless they are asked directly.
Rather than seek immediate medical attention, they purchase pads to deal with urinary incontinence and urgency, and engage in less frequent sexual intercourse.
What Causes Pelvic Floor Injury?
The muscles contract tightly to protect your internal organs, particularly your reproductive parts against lots of things. Most of the time, you don’t notice it happens because your pelvic floor muscles will release on their own after the danger has passed.
The pain you are feeling for an extended amount of time can be caused by prolonged periods of infection, prolonged sitting or a traumatic injury like a fall or vehicle collision. These disturbances cause the muscles to spasm constantly, much like when you get a sudden cramp or a Charley horse.
Trauma, in particular, can irritate the pudendal nerve, which controls most of the pelvic floor’s movement and sensations. When the pudendal nerve is aggravated (stretched, torn, or pressed on by surrounding muscles) it can trigger abdominal pain and contracting of the muscles, which leads to pain during sex and bladder troubles.
Pelvic trauma is usually associated with downward falls where the injured person lands on their tailbone or fractures their hip, and car accidents. The trauma does not need to be direct and the symptoms do not need to present immediately after the trauma. Indirect impacts, or direct impacts to parts of the body other than the pelvis can damage pelvic nerves and muscles leading to persistent problems days or weeks after the initial trauma.
People, females in particular, have been known to experience traumatic pelvic floor dysfunction after being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, being injured in car crashes, and after falling from a substantial height. The impact to the pelvis and abdomen can cause disruption to the pudendal nerve or directly to the pelvic floor muscles which leads to the resulting pain and discomfort.
Pelvic Floor Therapy
If you have been diagnosed with a pelvic floor disorder, you may need to undergo pelvic floor therapy to help massage and relax those muscles which become very tense after constantly contracting since the time of injury. This therapy can be extremely uncomfortable both physically and also emotionally. For women it requires transvaginal stimulation of the pelvic muscles. For men, it is perineal stimulation.
Damage to the pelvic floor is substantially more common in women than men, so much so that men often report trouble finding a therapist who is qualified to help them. If that is your case, do not despair for there are specialists who can help. Despite the awkward nature of the therapy, finding the right therapist can help bring about substantial pain relief.
Have You Been Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?
If you've been hurt in a slip and fall accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.