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What Is Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia?

What Is Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia?

If you've been experiencing difficulty with bowel movements, the problem might not be what you initially think. There's a possibility that the issue lies in your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles play a critical role in your daily life, supporting your pelvic organs, maintaining continence, and providing core stability. When these muscles don't function properly, various issues may arise, and one such problem is pelvic floor dyssynergia. This article will give you an in-depth understanding of this condition, its causes, symptoms, and the available treatment options.

What Is Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia?

Pelvic floor dyssynergia, also known as anismus, is a type of pelvic floor dysfunction. In this condition, the pelvic floor muscles contract instead of relaxing during a bowel movement, making it difficult for the stool to pass. This involuntary contraction creates a functional obstruction in the rectum, leading to constipation and other bowel movement difficulties.

Causes of Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia

The exact cause of pelvic floor dyssynergia is yet to be determined. However, some factors can contribute to this condition, including:

Emotional stress

Stress can affect the muscles in your body, including the pelvic floor muscles. Emotional stress may cause these muscles to tighten involuntarily, leading to dyssynergia.

Childhood habits

Holding back bowel movements during childhood can affect the development of healthy bowel habits, leading to muscle dysfunction.

Gynecological surgery

Pelvic surgeries might damage nerves or muscles in the pelvic floor, contributing to dyssynergia.


Physical or emotional trauma throughout life can cause the pelvic floor muscles to contract instead of relaxing.

Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia

Individuals with pelvic floor dyssynergia often experience chronic constipation or difficulty passing stool. However, the symptoms can vary on a case-to-case basis. Common symptoms include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Incomplete evacuation of stool
  • A sensation of rectal blockage
  • Excessive time spent trying to pass stool
  • The need for manual assistance to facilitate bowel movements

Diagnosing Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia

If you've been experiencing these symptoms, seek the help of a healthcare professional specializing in pelvic disorders, such as a urogynecologist or gastroenterologist. Diagnostic tests for pelvic floor dyssynergia might include:

Anorectal manometry: This test measures the muscle strength and coordination of the rectum and anus during bowel movements.

Rectal balloon expulsion test: A small balloon is inserted into the rectum and inflated, and the patient is asked to expel it. Inability to do so within a specific time indicates dyssynergia.

Defecography: This test involves taking x-ray images of the rectum while the patient is passing stool to evaluate the muscle function.

Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia

Several treatment options are available for managing pelvic floor dyssynergia, and they often involve a combination of approaches:

Biofeedback therapy

A specialized pelvic floor therapist helps the patient retrain their muscles using visual and auditory feedback to learn proper muscle coordination during bowel movements.

Pelvic floor physical therapy

Exercises and manual therapy techniques are used to strengthen and relax the pelvic floor muscles.


Laxatives or stool softeners may be prescribed to manage constipation associated with dyssynergia.

Relaxation techniques

Practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help manage emotional stress that may contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.

In conclusion, pelvic floor dyssynergia is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive understanding and targeted treatment to alleviate its symptoms. By understanding the condition and seeking appropriate healthcare support, you can take control of your pelvic health and navigate your path to well-being. Don't hesitate to share this article with others who may benefit, and browse through other guides on Pelvic Floor Therapy to learn more about this essential aspect of your health.


About Annie Starling

Annie Starling, MD, is a respected authority in gynaecology and women's health with over 15 years of enriching experience. Her expansive knowledge and compassionate approach have been instrumental in transforming countless lives. Alongside her medical career, Annie has an impressive acting background, bringing a unique blend of expertise and empathetic communication to her work. She's not just a doctor; she's an educator, an advocate, and a trailblazer, deeply committed to empowering women through health education. Her blog posts reflect her passion for the field, offering a wealth of insights drawn from her vast professional experience. Trust Annie to guide you on your journey to better pelvic health.

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