By PHRC Admin
Pelvic floor disorders are a group of medical conditions that affect millions worldwide. Despite their prevalence, these disorders often remain undiagnosed and untreated due to lack of awareness and social stigma. In this blog post, we will summarize key information from an article by Today’s Woman that our cofounder, Stephanie Prendergast was interviewed for. We will talk about pelvic floor disorders, highlighting their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Understanding Pelvic Floor Disorders
The pelvic floor is a complex network of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Pelvic floor disorders occur when these muscles and tissues become weakened or damaged. Common types of pelvic floor disorders include:
- Pelvic organ prolapse: Occurs when the pelvic organs drop and press against the vaginal walls.
- Urinary incontinence: The involuntary leakage of urine.
- Fecal incontinence: The inability to control bowel movements.
Causes and Risk Factors
Various factors can contribute to the development of pelvic floor disorders, including:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Hysterectomy or other pelvic surgeries
- Chronic constipation or straining during bowel movements
The symptoms of pelvic floor disorders can vary depending on the specific condition. Some common symptoms include:
- A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the pelvic area
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Unintentional leakage of urine or feces
- Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels completely
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
Seeking Help and Treatment
It is crucial for those experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor disorders to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a gynecologist or urogynecologist, who specializes in these conditions. A thorough evaluation will help determine the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Treatment options for pelvic floor disorders can range from conservative to surgical, depending on the severity of the condition and individual needs. Some common treatments include:
- Pelvic floor exercises: Can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve their function; this should be prescribed by a pelvic floor physical therapist following their evaluation of your pelvic floor.
- Biofeedback: A technique that uses sensors to monitor muscle activity and provide real-time feedback, helping patients learn to control their pelvic floor muscles more effectively. In the clinics of Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center, biofeedback is given manually from the physical therapist and not via a device.
- Medications: Certain medications can help manage symptoms of urinary or fecal incontinence. Consult with your healthcare team to ensure proper prescriptions are given (if needed).
- Pessary: A removable device inserted into the vagina to support prolapsed pelvic organs.
- Surgery: Various surgical procedures are available to repair damaged pelvic floor structures or correct organ prolapse.
Pelvic floor disorders are a common yet often overlooked issue affecting many. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options, one can take the necessary steps to seek help and improve their quality of life. Remember, early intervention and open communication with healthcare professionals can make a significant difference in managing pelvic floor disorders and maintaining overall well-being.
Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!
Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.
Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page.
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