IBS, Constipation, and Bladder Leakage: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

I’m getting older. I’ve had four children. While bladder leakage shouldn’t be considered normal, it is common and was not unexpected. It’s a minor (major) annoyance, but I did expect some level of bladder leakage as I aged. What I didn’t know is that it can be caused by and cause additional problems with constipation.

Unexpected changes after gallbladder removal

I have IBS-M. After a cholecystectomy (having my gallbladder removed) several years ago, I fully expected to lean more toward IBS-D. Everyone I know who has had their gallbladder removed has dumping syndrome, meaning they usually have to go right after eating. This was my expectation.

I had more normal bowel habits shortly after surgery and wondered if I was having an episode of IBS-C and this somehow balanced it out. I was confused but not unhappy. It didn’t last.

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Experiencing chronic constipation after my gallbladder removal

I was really surprised when I realized I was in the middle of an extended bout of IBS-C. Chronic constipation was something I never expected to have again. I assumed I would still have bouts of constipation, but I believed these would be less frequent, short-lived, and much less severe.

This bout went on and on and I realized many months later that this was now my new normal. I seemed to be stuck with chronic constipation but I did not know why. How could this be when everyone else’s experience was wildly different?

My experience with bladder leakage

It was about this same time that I began having bladder leakage. I joked that all parts of me decided to fail at the same time. I was just falling apart as I aged. Of course, I know bladder leakage shouldn’t be considered normal and is treatable. After more than 5 years of testing for other reasons, I am not interested in dealing with more doctor’s visits for a while.

It increased in its level of annoyance as time went on. Now I am here, realizing it is all connected and was part of a perfect storm. I had no idea.

Bladder leakage is related to pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the cause of my bladder leakage. Several things caused it to reach this point, but I was unaware one of its causes also leads to more of itself.

Straining due to constipation can cause or agitate pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause or worsen constipation. Isn’t that a fun circle of symptoms?

How pelvic floor dysfunction and IBS-C affects me

I realize that eventually I will have had enough of this and will decide to seek treatment. For now, I’m simply dealing with the nonsense of it all. It is maddening at times, but I wonder how effective treatment could be or if it could last considering this merry-go-round of causes and symptoms that loops back around over and over again.

How would bouts of IBS-C affect treating pelvic floor dysfunction? How would treating pelvic floor dysfunction affect my IBS? So much could change--or not. Is the gamble of it all worth the trouble of treatment? I don’t know.

Delaying treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction

Not knowing how effective treatment would be or if one issue would just cause a continuation of symptoms doesn’t exactly push me toward seeking treatment. Have you dealt with IBS-C and pelvic floor dysfunction? Did you seek treatment? What treatment did you receive and was it effective for you? I would love to hear about your experience.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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