Chapter

Pain in Women

pp 143-153

Date:

Pelvic Floor Muscle Pain and Dysfunction

  • Sharon SilveiraAffiliated withDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , Samantha J. PulliamAffiliated withDivision of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital

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Abstract

The pelvic floor provides anatomic support and coordinates the essential functions of defecation, micturition, and reproduction. The nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor act as an integrated unit, and when a component is compromised, dysfunction and pain can result. One type of dysfunction is the development of hypertonic muscles. The increased tone can lead to multiple problems seen by physicians including bladder or bowel pain, elimination disorders, vaginismus, vulvodynia, as well as chronic pelvic pain.