pelvic floor hypertonus 1

What The Hell is Pelvic Floor Hypertonus?

Pelvic floor hypertonus is a condition that not many people hear about, or even know about. Often when we talk about pelvic floor dysfunction many people will automatically think of weak pelvic floor muscles often created from having children, or part of the aging process. This is where the pelvic floor muscles are too relaxing and need tightening and strengthening.

However more and more we are now seeing women, especially young women, with pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and non-relaxed and this is leading to chronic pelvic pain and other pelvic health and sexual health issues. This is called Pelvic Floor Hypertonus. For this article I will be talking about how Pelvic Floor Hypertonus affects women, even though men can have this as well.

What is Pelvic Floor Hypertonus?

Pelvic floor hypertonus occurs when the muscles in the pelvic floor become too tight and are unable to relax. Many women with an overly tight and non-relaxing pelvic floor experience pelvic health issues such as constipation, painful sex, urinary urgency, bladder issues and pelvic pain. Women with pelvic floor hypertonus may also have musculoskeletal issues that cause tightness and tension in surrounding hip, sacrum and pelvic muscles.

Pelvic floor hypertonus is not widely recognized and can often go on undiagnosed. It is certainly on the missed and dismissed list. Unlike in pelvic floor disorders caused by muscles too relaxed and are easily identified (such as pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence etc), women affected by pelvic floor hypertonus may present with a broad range of nonspecific symptoms mentioned previously and below. All these related symptoms require relaxation and coordination of pelvic floor muscles and urinary and anal sphincters. Many of these symptoms can really affect the quality of woman’s life.

The signs and symptoms of pelvic floor hypertonus

The main and typical symptom of pelvic floor hypertonus is pelvic pain, or pelvic muscular pain. There can be a wide range of other symptoms including the following:

  • Urinary issues such as urge frequency, frequent urination or painful urination
  • Incontinence
  • Slow flow, hesitancy, or delayed start of urination
  • Constipation and straining when emptying the bowels.
  • incomplete emptying of the bowels
  • pressure feeling in the pelvis and rectum
  • pain in the pelvis, genitals or rectum
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • muscles spasms in the pelvis, or pelvic floor
  • low back pain
  • hip pain
  • coccyx pain
  • painful sex
  • vaginismus

If left untreated pelvic floor hypertonus can lead to long term health issues, colon and bladder damage and can also cause infection.

What causes pelvic floor hypertonus?

There is no one defining cause of pelvic floor hypertonus. Many things can cause non-relaxing pelvic floor muscles ranging from sitting too much, exercising too much, obesity, stress and also chronic inflammatory disease states. Here are some of the causes of pelvic floor hypertonus:

  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pudendal Neuralgia
  • Vulvodynia
  • History of holding onto the bowels, or bladder too long
  • Over exercising and over exercising the core muscles
  • Being sedentary, or over-sitting too long
  • High levels of stress, fear and anxiety
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Child Birth, or Birth Trauma
  • Injury to the pelvic floor
  • Sexual and emotional abuse
  • Surgery
  • Nerve Damage

It is very important to identify the cause of pelvic floor hypertonus individually and why it is so important to see a healthcare expert, or pelvic floor specialist that specialises in this area. As with many other inflammatory conditions, a multimodality treatments approach is needed and may involved several modalities, or practitioners working together to help the individual. A pelvic floor physiotherapist may also be needed to help with exercises to relax the pelvic floor along with other modalities such as acupuncture to help with pain, relaxation and stress relief.

What are some of the things that can benefit pelvic floor hypertonus?

As mentioned before, it is important to see a healthcare expert who can identify what the cause of the pelvic floor hypertonus is and recommend a management and treatment plan moving forward. This will usually require a multimodality treatment approach, which could involve the following:

  • Pelvic floor muscle relaxation techniques
  • Mindfulness and meditation techniques
  • Breathing techniques
  • Pilates and yoga to help with stretching
  • Advice on better bladder and bowel habits
  • Pelvic floor and core muscle releasing abdominal massage
  • Specific stretches for the pelvis, hips and sacrum
  • The use of vaginal dilators, and/or vaginal eggs to help with relaxing and stretching the pelvic floor muscles
  • Acupuncture to help with pain, stress and relaxation, alongside medical interventions.
  • Massage to help with internal scar tissue (done by a pelvic floor physiotherapist)
  • Warm baths and self care
  • Use of TENS and electro-neuro stimulators to help with pain
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Pain medications and muscles relaxants
  • Complementary medicines (prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional)
  • Surgery

Outlook and importance of seeing an expert

The main goal of treating and managing pelvic floor hypertonus is to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor to relieve pain and other associated symptoms.

Although living with pelvic floor hypertonus embarrassing or sometimes painful, non relaxing pelvic floor dysfunction is a highly treatable condition. It is important that you talk to a healthcare expert in this area, or a pelvic floor specialist. It’s important not to self-diagnose your symptoms, or try to Dr Google your symptoms, because left untreated pelvic floor hypertonus can lead to long term pain and health issues and also irreparable damage.

There are many conservative management approaches that can be used before resorting to hard-core pain medications, muscle relaxants and surgery. Your healthcare expert will be able to discuss all these options and ongoing healthcare management and treatments with you. The main thing is booking a consultation with a proper healthcare expert to get a proper diagnosis.

If you need help and assistance with pelvic floor hypertonus, or pelvic pain, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I can assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Women’s Health Experts

 

 

Consequences of PCOS

The Serious Health Complications Of Unmanaged PCOS

Just like endometriosis, there is a lot of the information about PCOS, but it is more about the symptoms, time to diagnosis and future fertility outcomes.

While it is necessary to educate people about these things, nobody is really talking about the serious health complications of unmanaged PCOS.

There have been some big changes to the diagnosis of PCOS, but still it can often take up to 3 years or more to get a proper diagnosis. While it may not take as long as endometriosis to be diagnosed, it still means that many women are being missed and dismissed in those year before they are finally diagnosed.

Like Endometriosis, some women with PCOS are never diagnosed and some women do not have any symptoms and can have very regular cycles etc. Women can have PCOS and endometriosis together, alongside other issues such as adenomyosis as well.

There are serious health consequences with unmanaged PCOS

The main thing I am trying to bring to everyone’s attention is that it doesn’t matter what disease you have, if it is left unmanaged, or not managed properly, it can have some pretty serious consequences of ones fertility, and mental and physical health.

PCOS is not exception. While the symptoms of PCOS are not as bad as those suffered with endometriosis, or adenomyosis, women can still suffer in many other ways. The long-term consequences of unmanaged PCOS can be very serious and can also lead to early death (cardiovascular disease, stroke etc.) and also lead to certain cancers.

Risk factors

PCOS is thought to have a genetic component. People who have a mother or sister with PCOS are more likely to develop PCOS than someone whose relatives do not have the condition. This family link is the main risk factor.

Then there is the insulin resistance factor with PCOS as well. Insulin resistance is a primary driver of PCOS and there is now evidence to show that most, if not all, women with PCOS have insulin resistance by default. Again this appears to be through genetic or family links of someone having PCOS, or having diabetes in the family tree etc.

Excess insulin is thought to affect a woman’s ability to ovulate because of its effect on androgen production. Research has shown that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.

This is why diet and lifestyle interventions are so important in the overall management of PCOS. It is because these changes help with the insulin resistance.

There are other risk factors such as obesity, stress, nutritional deficiencies and sedentary lifestyle. Have a look at my page about more information on PCOS and risk factors etc (Click Here)

The Common Symptoms of PCOS

It is important to know what the common symptoms of PCOS are, so that women and healthcare professionals alike know what to look for.

The common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • irregular menses
  • excess androgen levels
  • acne, oily skin, and dandruff
  • excessive facial and body hair growth, known as Hirsutism
  • female pattern balding
  • skin tags
  • acanthosis nigricans, or dark patches of skin
  • sleep apnea
  • high stress levels
  • depression and anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • infertility
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • decreased libido
  • high cholesterol and triglycerides
  • fatigue
  • insulin resistance
  • type 2 diabetes
  • pelvic pain
  • weight management difficulties including weight gain or difficulty losing weight

Early Intervention and management is crucial

The causes of PCOS are unclear, but early intervention, early diagnosis and early management, can help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Anyone who may have symptoms of PCOS should see their healthcare provider, women’s healthcare specialist, or PCOS expert.

Coping with the symptoms of PCOS and managing the treatments can be demanding ands sometimes stressful. But, to then learn there can be serious complications and added risks to your health from PCOS not being managed properly can be distressing.

Be educated and get proper help

Just like any disease state just being aware, and being educated there are added risks is an important first step. Once you have the common symptoms of PCOS under control then you can turn your mind to thinking about ways to prevent further complications.  The good news is that many of the treatments and management strategies you will use for your PCOS will also help to prevent many of the serious complications. A qualified healthcare professional, or a healthcare practitioner who is an expert in PCOS should be managing anyone with PCOS. Nobody should be trying to manage PCOS on their own without some form of professional help.

The serious complications of PCOS

Women with PCOS are thought to be at higher risk of having future heart disease or stroke. They are also at higher risk of diabetes, endometrial cancer and other cancers too.

What are the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS?

Besides the risk factors already mentioned, the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS are as follows:

  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Prediabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome (generally having at least two of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, high fasting blood glucose)
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Other cancers (breast, ovarian)
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Infertility
  • Increased Pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia
  • Increased gestational diabetes
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of sudden death
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Psychological disorders
  • Mood disorders (anxiety, depression)

What you can do

If you are worried about the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS it is helpful to:

  • Get your symptoms of PCOS under control as a first step
  • Discuss any concerns with your healthcare practitioner, or women’s health/PCOS expert.
  • Learn about and understand your risks
  • Learn that early intervention and early healthcare management is the key to assisting any disease state.
  • Have your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol checked regularly
  • Seek guidance and support to help with weight management and dietary and lifestyle management.
  • Remember that all body types can have PCOS, not just those who are overweight.
  • Do not try to manage the symptoms of PCOS on your own.

Final word

If you do need assistance with PCOS and would like my help, please call my friendly staff and found out how I may be able to assist you. There are options for online consultations and consultations in person.

As mentioned before the key to any disease is early intervention and early healthcare management and you taking the first steps to get the help you need. PCOS also needs a multimodality approach. There are many facets to it. Don’t put off your health. Just pick up the phone and make that appointment today. There can be some very serious consequences if you do, especially for some conditions such and PCOS.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicines

-The PCOS Experts

References
  1. Ehrmann D et al. Prevalence and predictors of the metabolic syndrome in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Jan;91(1):48-53
  2. Meyer C et al. Overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome have evidence of subclinical cardiovascular disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Oct;90(10):5711-6
  3. McCartney CR, Marshall JC. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. N Engl J Med 2016;375:54-64
  4. Hull MG. Epidemiology of infertility and polycystic ovarian disease: endocrinological and demographic studies. Gynecol Endocrinol. 1987;1:235–245. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. Balen AH, Conway GS, Kaltsas G, et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome: the spectrum of the disorder in 1741 patients. Hum Reprod. 1995;10:2107–2111. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  6. Tian L, Shen H, Lu Q, Norman RJ, Wang J. Insulin resistance increases the risk of spontaneous abortion after assisted reproduction technology treatment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(4):1430–1433. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  7. Jungheim ES, Lanzendorf SE, Odem RR, Moley KH, Chang AS, Ratts VS. Morbid obesity is associated with lower clinical pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2009;92(1):256–261. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  8. Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long-term health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2004;81(1):19–25. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  9. Palomba S, de Wilde MA, Falbo A, Koster MPH, La Sala GB, Fauser CJM. Pregnancy complications in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: new clinical and pathophysiological insights. Hum Reprod Update. 2015 Jun 27;:dmv029. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  10. Anderson SA, Barry JA, Hardiman PJ. Risk of coronary heart disease and risk of stroke in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2014;176(2):486–487. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  11. Hardiman P, Pillay OC, Atiomo W. Polycystic ovary syndrome and endometrial carcinoma. Lancet. 2003;361(9371):1810–1812. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  12. Genazzani AR, Gadducci A, Gambacciani M. Controversial issues in climacteric medicine II. Hormone replacement therapy and cancer. International Menopause Society Expert Workshop. Climacteric. 2001;4(3):181–193. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  13. Barry JA, Azizia MM, Hardiman PJ. Risk of endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod Update. 2014;20(5):748–758. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  14. Broekmans FJ, Knauff EAH, Valkenburg O, Laven JS, Eijkemans MJ, Fauser BCJM. PCOS according to the Rotterdam consensus criteria: change in prevalence among WHO-II anovulation and association with metabolic factors. BJOG. 2006;113(10):1210–1217. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  15. Haoula Z, Salman M, Atiomo W. Evaluating the association between endometrial cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome. Hum Reprod. 2012;27(5):1327–1331. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  16. Chittenden BG, Fullerton G, Maheshwari A, Bhattacharya S. Polycystic ovary syndrome and the risk of gynaecological cancer: a systematic review. Reprod Biomed Online. 2009;19(3):398–405. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  17. Giovannucci E. Metabolic syndrome, hyperinsulinemia, and colon cancer: a review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(3):s836–s842. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
healthy food

The Difference Between The Proper Way To Eat Versus Dieting

The word diet is often misused and people often use it in the context of weight loss and food restriction. In this latest post I talk about the difference between the word ‘Diet’, as in dieting, versus “Diet”- meaning the proper way to eat.

I also show people the wellness pyramid and explains what good nutrition is and that all carbs are not bad carbs. I also talk about waist size, body fat and the perception people have around weight and weight loss. Have a listen to my latest post to here this and so much more.

Fertility and a piece of string

Explaining The Facts of Fertility- “How long is a piece of string?”

When people ask me about what is the cause of most couples issues trying to conceive, I always say ” How long is a piece of string?”

There can be so many factors involved and there is never just one clear answer. Many times people are focussing completely on the wrong thing too.

In this video blog below,  I have an honest discussion about fertility on every level. I discuss diet, lifestyle, preconception care, supplements, natural medicines, western medicines, investigations, genetic issues, stress, IVF procedures, Natural killer cells, unrealistic expectations, self sabotage, weight issues and much much more.

So again, when anyone asks what the cause of fertility issues are, I will always answer “How long is piece of string?”

Because in reality, there are so many factors that couple are unaware of, and need to be aware of too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The International Fertility Experts

fat children

The Prevention of Childhood Obesity Must Start Before a Couple Conceives.

The key to preventing obesity in future generations is to make their parents healthier before they conceive, leading health researchers suggest.

In a series of papers, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the researchers say that the time before couples conceive represents a missed opportunity to prevent the transmission of obesity risk from one generation to the next. They argue that a new approach is needed to motivate future parents to live a healthier lifestyle.

There is now a wealth of evidence that the risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as heart disease diabetes and some cancers, could impact the developing baby. In turn, when the child becomes a young adult they may pass the risk of obesity on to their children — it is a vicious cycle.

The nature of this problem is not adequately appreciated. Many young people, whilst appearing outwardly healthy, are nonetheless on a risky path to obesity and chronic disease and more likely to pass this risk to their children, the researchers warn.

Many pregnancies are unplanned, and the special needs of adolescents and young people at this important time are not sufficiently recognised. Far from helping them to prepare and plan for pregnancy and parenthood, many public health programmes assume that their needs are similar to the general population and require no special measures or provisions.

In a comment piece accompanying the research papers, Professor Mark Hanson of the University of Southampton, says an entirely new approach is needed that engages parents-to-be and encourages them to be part of the solution.

Engaging future parents in leading healthier lives will not only promote their health later, but will give their children a healthier start to life.

Getting couples to have a healthier diet and lifestyle and manage weight is all part of my fertility program and something we have always promoted. We know that the health of the parents gets passed onto the offspring and why we are so focussed on helping a couple be the healthiest they can be. So many couples are choosing to overlook the obvious because it is all too hard. Well… so they think.

A moderate weight loss of 10% body fat, or an increase for those underweight, can increase a couples chances of conception by 50%. That is huge.

I have helped and assisted over 12,500 babies into the world, via my fertility program.  Part of the fertility program is about preconception care and getting the parents healthy before they try to have a baby. Healthy parents produce healthy babies.

If you do need help have a baby, please call my friendly staff about how the fertility program may assist you in having a baby.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The International Fertility Experts