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Pelvic Floor Disorders

Understanding Pelvic Floor Disorders

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

  • Frequent need to go to the bathroom
  • Leaking while laughing or sneezing
  • An inability to "hold it"
  • Pain or pressure in the vagina
  • Feeling a "bulge" or like you are sitting on a ball

If so, you may have a pelvic floor disorder. Often, women may be reluctant to talk about these issues--even with their doctors--because they feel embarrassed or mistakenly assume they’re an inevitable part of aging. The good news is with an accurate diagnosis, these issues can be treated, managed and often eliminated.

Understanding Pelvic Floor Disorders

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is name for the muscles, ligaments and tissue that support the organs of the pelvis: your uterus, bladder and rectum. The pelvic floor keeps these organs in place and functioning properly.

What are pelvic floor disorders?

A pelvic floor disorder, or pelvic organ prolapse, is when pelvic organs "drop down" due to weakened or damaged muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor. As a result, the bladder, uterus or bowels hang low and create an uncomfortable "bulge", which often feels like pressure. Prolapse also may cause an involuntary loss of urine, gas or stool, called urinary and bowel incontinence.

Pelvic floor disorders may sound scary and embarrassing, but they are common and treatable. At least one-third of all women–and half of all women age 55 and older--are affected by a pelvic floor disorder.

What causes pelvic floor disorders?

Childbirth and surgery are common causes of pelvic floor disorders. Some medical conditions as well as genetics, obesity, menopause and aging also can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and tissues. Younger women also can be affected.

How are pelvic floor disorders diagnosed?

Your primary care physician or gynecologist may diagnose a pelvic floor disorder by listening to your symptoms and performing a simple pelvic exam. Your physician may send you to a urogynecologist, who specializes in treating these conditions.

How are pelvic floor disorders treated?

Norton Women's Care offers a wide range of treatment options, from lifestyle changes to medication, exercises and advanced minimally invasive pelvic reconstructive surgery, to get you back to enjoying life.

You don't have to live with a pelvic floor disorder. Find a gynecologist or call (502) 629-1234 and we'll help you find the right specialist.

This fact sheet has been provided for informational purposes to better understand certain health topics. This information should not be taken as medical advice. Consult your physician for answers to questions about your health.

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