Gastrointestinal manifestations of pelvic floor disorders in adolescents: a diagnostic framework for the general practitioner

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Purpose of reviewPelvic floor disorders (PFDs) can present with gastrointestinal complaints in the adolescent patient, and identification of PFDs is aided by clues in the history and physical examination apparent to the knowledgeable clinician. The aim of this article is to provide a framework for the diagnostic evaluation of the adolescent patient with a PFD and introduce management strategies.Recent findingsPatients with PFDs can present with gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, constipation, incomplete evacuation, and fecal incontinence or nongastrointestinal complaints around genitourinary symptoms or sexual health. Although such symptoms can be attributed to a variety of diagnoses, PFDs should be considered in the adolescent patient based on history and physical examination findings, including a careful digital rectal examination. Adolescent patients in high-risk groups may be especially susceptible to PFDs. Such groups include postpartum women, victims of sexual abuse, those with congenital anorectal malformations, or acquired spinal cord or pelvic floor injuries. Biofeedback can be beneficial in patients with PFDs.SummaryPFDs may present with a spectrum of symptoms, but a familiarity with the clinical characteristics and understanding of the digital rectal examination may guide the skillful clinician in diagnosis, initial management, and subspecialist referral if needed.

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