Why Not All Pelvic Floor Disorders are Created Equal


Why Not All Pelvic Floor Disorders are Created Equal
Why Not All Pelvic Floor Disorders are Created Equal

Pelvic health problems affect nearly one-third of all women over age 60. While many of these uncomfortable symptoms increase with age, women of all ages experience pelvic floor dysfunction. In general, these disorders are highly treatable, especially with the care of experienced urogynecologists. 


What is the pelvic floor? For women, the pelvic floor is composed of connective tissue, ligaments, nerves and muscles that work together to support and regulate the uterus, bladder, vagina and rectum. When this supportive structure is damaged or weakened, they cannot hold the pelvic organs in place and adverse symptoms may result. While childbirth is the most common culprit associated with pelvic floor disorders, past surgery, weight lifting and other medical conditions can also negatively impact pelvic floor performance and stability. 

What are the differences between the disorders? The three most common types of pelvic floor disorders are urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Urinary incontinence refers to a lack of bladder control, resulting in involuntary urine leakage and frequent urges to urinate. Patients with fecal incontinence have a hard time controlling their bowels, and may experience bowel leakage upon passing gas, coughing or sneezing. Pelvic organ prolapse refers to a condition in which the pelvic musculature gives out and the bladder, bowels and uterus prolapse (or drop). Prolapse symptoms can range from mild to severe, and frequently include symptoms such as vaginal pressure, sexual dysfunction, painful intercourse and may occur in tandem with loss of bladder control. 

What are the treatment options? While these conditions are bothersome and unnerving, there are a plethora of effective treatment options based on the type and severity of the disorder. After confirming your diagnosis with a pelvic exam, your doctor will determine if your condition warrants surgery. For mild prolapse or urinary incontinence conditions, your doctor may prescribe a pessary, which is a supportive device that is inserted into the vagina. For severe cases, surgery may be the best possible treatment option. 

Pelvic floor issues can be an uncomfortable to discuss with your doctor, but it is important not to dismiss these symptoms, as conditions can worsen over time. Our experienced urogynecologists help women overcome prolapse and incontinence issues everyday. Schedule a pelvic exam today by requesting an appointment online or by calling 877-362-2778.