What are Pelvic Floor Disorders?
The pelvic floor is a network of muscles, ligaments and tissues in the lower abdominal area. It acts like a hammock to support the uterus, bladder, vagina and rectum. Pelvic floor disorders occur when these muscles, ligaments and nerves that support the pelvic organs becomes weak or damaged. Generally, pelvic floor disorders are more common in women than in men; will affect one in three women, and becomes more common with age. The main types of pelvic floor disorders are:
- Urinary incontinence, or lack of bladder control
- Fecal incontinence, or lack of bowel control
- Constipation, difficulty in having a bowel movement
- Pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the uterus, bladder and bowel may “drop” onto the vagina and cause a bulge through the vaginal canal
Pelvic Floor Disorder Symptoms
People with pelvic floor disorders may experience:
- Urinary problems, such as an urgent need to urinate, painful urination or incomplete emptying of their bladder
- Constipation, straining or pain during bowel movements
- Pain or pressure in the vagina or rectum
- A heavy feeling in the pelvis or a bulge in the vagina or rectum
- Muscle spasms in the pelvis
Pelvic Floor Disorder Treatments
Treatment can have a dramatic effect on pelvic floor dysfunction. For most people, this usually involves:
- Behavior changes, such as avoiding pushing or straining when urinating and having a bowel movement. This also might include learning how to relax the muscles in the pelvic floor area. For example, warm baths and yoga can help relax these muscles.
- Medicines, such as low doses of muscle relaxants like diazepam
- Physical therapy and biofeedback, which can help you learn how to relax and coordinate the movement of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Surgery- including minimally invasive surgical techniques
Please contact our Gastroenterology Specialists for diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor disorders. To schedule a consultation, call 605.217.5500.