Dr. Jordan Dutton N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
4 min|Dr. Jordan Dutton

The Root of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: A Comprehensive Guide

Pelvic Restoration, Hormones

Understanding the intricate connections between hormones and female pelvic health.

In the realm of women's health, there's a fascinating yet intricate world of hormones that plays a pivotal role in the well-being of the female pelvic region. From stress-induced pelvic floor dysfunction to the impact of hormones on vulvar tissues, there's much to explore. In this blog post, we'll take you through the various reasons and provide an in-depth crash course on hormones in relation to female pelvic health. Bear in mind, this list is extensive, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.

1. Stress

Did you know that stress can be a major contributor to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD)? It's true; stress can wreak havoc on your pelvic health. Research conducted in 2001 demonstrated the connection between stress and involuntary pelvic floor muscle activity. Stress can be the silent driver of PFD, causing pain and physical strain on the body.

2. Trauma

Trauma, be it sexual, emotional, or physical, can leave lasting imprints on the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is intricately connected to our overall health, encompassing the chemical, mental, and structural aspects of our well-being. Trauma can disrupt this balance, leading to various pelvic issues.

3. Hypertonicity

When the muscles of the pelvic floor are excessively tight, they can restrict essential processes like lymphatic drainage and nerve function. This can result in pain, restricted blood flow, and even severe conditions like pelvic congestion and pudendal neuralgia.

Think of it this way: if you held your arm up all day, it would become tight and sore, much like the pelvic floor. Tight muscles can't effectively contract or relax, causing discomfort and hindering essential bodily functions.

4. Nerve Compression or Damage

Nerve compression or damage, such as pudendal neuralgia and annular tears in the low back , can lead to chronic pain and discomfort in the pelvic region. Relief can sometimes come from releasing the muscles or compression that compromises these nerves, showcasing the complex interplay of spinal health, nerves and muscles in pelvic health.

5. Physical Injury

Physical injuries, whether from sports, accidents, or even prolonged sitting during long flights, can disrupt the balance of the pelvic floor. Conditions like coccyx injuries, lower back issues, or car accidents can have downstream effects on pelvic health, affecting one's quality of life.

6. Medical Conditions

Various medical conditions, including interstitial cystitis, IBS, endometriosis, and PCOS, can contribute to or result from pelvic floor dysfunction. The relationship between these conditions and PFD can be complex and interconnected.

7. Vulvar Pain

Vulvar pain, often exclusive to pelvic floor dysfunction, deserves its own field of medical study. It can be challenging to diagnose and treat, with hormonal factors often playing a crucial role in its development and persistence.

pelvic pain

Hormones can play a role in pelvic floor issues...

While many associate hormone deficiency with menopause, it's not the sole cause. Various factors, including birth control pills, high stress levels, postpartum states, and certain medical conditions, can disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to vulvar pain.

Hormone Deficiency

Hormone deficiency, particularly the lack of estrogen and testosterone in vulvar and vaginal tissues, can trigger a cascade of changes leading to pain and discomfort. This deficiency can negatively affect pelvic floor function, creating an imbalance over time.

Delving deeper into hormones, we discover how testosterone and estrogen play vital roles in maintaining vulvar and vaginal health. Estrogen, for instance, protects the urethra, maintains vaginal lubrication, and supports the structure of vaginal tissues.

Testosterone, on the other hand, is crucial for the health of the vulvar vestibule. Without it, this sensitive tissue becomes dry and sensitive, leading to discomfort and pain.

The Pill

Some women may experience adverse reactions in hormonally sensitive tissues due to genetic variations. This can lead to sexually debilitating side effects for some, but alternatives and mitigating strategies are available.


Menopause often brings about a lack of rugae, transverse folds along the vaginal canal that contribute to elasticity. Hormone deficiency during menopause can result in

  • Vulvo-vaginal atrophy
  • Reduced lubrication
  • Increased incontinence
  • Low libido
  • Pain with sex
  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTI)

Understanding the intricate connections between hormones and female pelvic health is essential. From the impact of stress to the complexities of hormone deficiencies, it's clear that a multifaceted approach is needed to address pelvic floor dysfunction effectively. By unraveling this complex web, we can pave the way for better pelvic health and improved overall well-being. Stay tuned for more insights into the world of women's health and hormones.

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