Your bladder, bowel, vagina, and uterus are held in place by a hammock of muscles called the pelvic floor. When those muscles or connective tissues weaken or get injured it can cause problems with bladder and bowel control and pelvic pain (including during sex). Some of the most common pelvic floor conditions include:
- Bladder Leaks / Incontinence
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Anyone can be affected by pelvic floor conditions; however, there are some risk factors that may make a woman more prone to these conditions, such as:
- Childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth put a tremendous amount of pressure on the pelvic floor, which can sometimes result in a weakened pelvic floor.
- Chronic pressure on the pelvic floor from factors like obesity, chronic constipation, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing from smoking or health problems.
- Age. The pelvic floor muscles can weaken as women age and during menopause.
- Having weaker tissues. Genes influence the strength of a woman’s bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Some women are born with conditions that affect the strength of connective tissues, and they are more likely to have pelvic organ prolapse.
- Surgery. Previous hysterectomy and prior surgery to correct prolapse are associated with higher risks of pelvic floor conditions.
Many women don’t know they have pelvic floor issues because they write the symptoms off as “normal.” If you experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from a pelvic floor condition:
- Bladder leaks when you cough, sneeze or laugh
- An uncontrollable urge to use the bathroom
- Frequent urination and/or constipation
- Pelvic pain during sex, urination or bowel movements
- Severe cramps in the pelvic area
Pelvic floor problems do not usually resolve on their own, but many can be treated and improved with the right treatment. Treatment plans will vary depending on your individual needs and condition, but options include:
- Physical Therapy
- Exercise Prescriptions
- Vaginal Support
- Biofeedback/Electrical Stimulation
If you think you may be suffering from a pelvic floor condition, Woman’s has a comprehensive team of experts, including gynecologists, urologists and physical therapists ready to help. Call 225-924-8311 or visit our website to learn more.