Approximately one in three American women is affected by some type of pelvic floor disorder during her lifetime1. Symptoms that may develop can range from incontinence and constipation, to pelvic pain and sexual difficulties. Many women suffer in silence – but they don’t have to.
The Women’s Pelvic Health Center at Park Plaza Hospital offers comprehensive pelvic health services that include both surgical and non-surgical treatment options to help women improve their quality of life. We take a multi-disciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra), genital tract (cervix, uterus and vagina), and lower gastrointestinal tract (intestines and rectum). Our specially trained surgeons and nursing staff have the experience and credentials to provide a high level of care for patients.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Disorders
Some women may not experience symptoms when a pelvic organ is displaced from its normal anatomical position, a condition known as prolapse. But others could have:
Leakage of urine or stool (also known as incontinence).
A sense the bladder is overactive or does not empty completely.
Feeling of fullness or pressure in the vaginal area.
Pain during urination or intercourse.
Frequent bladder or urinary tract infections.
A sensation or awareness that the uterus, bladder or rectum is pushing out.
Lower back pain.
|About Pelvic Floor Disorders
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that form a sling or hammock across the opening of a woman’s pelvis and keep the bladder, urethra, small intestine, cervix, uterus, vagina and rectum in place. A pelvic floor disorder occurs when these tissues weaken or become injured. This can occur after childbirth or a hysterectomy. Obesity, chronic coughing, frequent straining during bowel movements, and heavy lifting are other conditions that also may contribute to pelvic floor disorders.
Women with pelvic floor disorders tend to be older, overweight or obese, menopausal or smokers. They also may have type 2 diabetes or certain genetic disorders. Unfortunately you may not have any of these risk factors and still be affected by pelvic floor disorders.
Common Pelvic Floor Disorders
Cystocele – the bladder pushes into the vagina
Enterocele – the small intestine pushes into the vagina
Rectocele – the rectum pushes into the back wall of the vagina
Urethrocele – the urethra pushes into the vagina
Uterine prolapse – the uterus and cervix push down into or out of the vagina
Vaginal prolapse – the top of the vagina pushes out and may turn inside out
Diagnosing the Cause of the Problem
A pelvic examination is typically done to diagnose these disorders, most of which are classified as hernias because they involve the protrusion of an organ when tissue that normally provides support is weakened. The different kinds of disorders are typically named in relation to the organ that is affected. While a woman may have more than one disorder, they often occur in isolation with the most common usually involving the bladder and urethra.
Treatment Options to Relieve Symptoms
Women may find relief for symptoms through lifestyle changes, medications, pelvic floor rehabilitation, bladder training, weight loss, Kegel exercises, or the insertion of a pessary. However, if these strategies are unsuccessful and symptoms persist, various surgical options are available and can help.
Surgery usually is recommended for women who have decided not to have any more children. If the decision is made to have surgery, the least invasive approach should be pursued. For most women this involves vaginal surgery to repair the disorder. Correcting a pelvic floor disorder without any abdominal incisions is less stressful for patients, results in less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stays, with quicker recovery and return to daily activities than surgeries or techniques that utilize abdominal incisions1.