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Pelvic Floor Motility

The Pelvic Floor

Pelvic floor conditions impact both men and women. The pelvic floor refers to the connective tissues, nerves and muscles (e.g., sphincter muscles, puborectalis muscle) that support functions of the bladder and rectum; and the uterus and vagina in women.

Signs of a Motility Disorder

Your pelvic floor may be weakened or damaged if you experience:

  • Pressure or pain in the rectum
  • Muscle spasms in the pelvic region
  • Incomplete emptying
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • An urgent need to move your bowels

Types of Pelvic Floor Motility Disorders

The GI motility team diagnoses, treats and researches pelvic floor disorders such as:

  • Anal fissure
  • Anal sphincter dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Hirschsprung's disease
  • Poor or impaired rectal sensation
  • Stool leakage
  • Chagas disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Levator ani syndrome

Pelvic Floor Procedures

1. Anorectal Manometry

This procedure is used to evaluate conditions associated with constipation or fecal incontinence.

By inserting a thin tube containing many sensors into the rectum, this test assesses nerve and muscle function as well as the coordination and strength of the pelvic floor.

Balloon Expulsion Test
During anorectal manometry, a balloon expulsion test may be performed.

What to expect:

  1. A thin tube with a balloon attached is inserted into the rectum.
  2. The balloon is filled with water.
  3. The patient is asked to expel the balloon into the toilet.
  4. The length of time it takes to expel the balloon is recorded.

2. Electromyography Testing

This procedure tests to see if the nerves that serve the anorectum are functioning normally. Similar to an EKG of your heart, electrodes are placed on the skin that painlessly record the electrical potentials produced by the nerves firing.

Pelvic Floor Disorder Treatment

With careful examination, and collaboration with colorectal surgeons, our specialists provide advanced diagnostics and comprehensive care for pelvic floor disorders.

Treatment may include biofeedback therapy, tissue expander injection, motility medications and surgical treatment such as sacral nerve stimulator placement.

GI Comprehensive Biofeedback Program

Biofeedback therapy is an educational and physical therapy program occurring over several sessions. It is highly effective in helping patients retrain their pelvic floor muscles and regain control over their bodily functions. 

In our physician-led program, you will be shown how to improve the strength and coordination of the muscles in the anorectum. Training will include instruction on breathing exercises and postural techniques, such as foot evaluation with the Squatty Potty system. Biofeedback is very safe and effective in relieving symptoms of incontinence and constipation.

Appointments & Referrals

GI Motility Locations

La Jolla

Our Specialists

Meet our gastroenterologists.

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