The pelvic floor in women houses the pelvic organs, namely, the uterus (womb), small bowel, urinary bladder (where urine is stored), rectum, and vagina. Pelvic floor holds these organs in the correct position, helps maintain bladder and bowel control, and facilitates sexual functioning.

Pelvic floor issues are fairly common among both men and women. Women often complain of incontinence of urine and bowels, and sexual discomfort. Many women feel their life has been ruined because of this problem. Most of them avoid family and social gatherings due to incontinence and even experience issues during their intimate moments with partner. Unfortunately, many women find it embarrassing to discuss this issue with anyone and suffer in silence.

Give a read to learn more about pelvic floor problems in women.

What are the common pelvic floor problems?

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Overactive bladder (categorized by frequent urination)
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Discomfort and heaviness in the pelvic region

In addition to the above, some women suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where the pelvic organs drop down into the vagina. It is not a life-threatening condition but causes pain and discomfort. In severe cases, these organs may protrude all the way through the opening of the vagina and outside the body. This is a severe condition requiring immediate intervention.

What causes pelvic floor problems?

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During her lifetime, a woman’s pelvic region undergoes myriad events, including menstruation, sexual activity, pregnancy, traumatic events such as childbirth, surgeries, accidents and related injuries, and many more. During such rigorous and traumatic situations, the muscles in the pelvic region get stretched, worn out, and even torn. As a result, they become too loose and weak causing pelvic floor dysfunction.

Among all the above mentioned events, pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction. More the number of childbirths, greater is the risk of a woman having these problems.

Other factors include age, obesity, straining on the toilet (mostly associated with constipation), heavy lifting (as part of your job or in the gym) and persistent coughing. Some women are worried about coughing or sneezing in public for fear of an accidental leakage.

How can I prevent myself from developing pelvic floor dysfunction?

 woman lying down and doing stretching exercise=
Although pelvic floor disorder is a common condition, there are ways by which it can be kept at bay. Preventing pelvic floor disorder from setting in may require you to do the following:

  • Do pelvic muscle strengthening exercises (such yoga, pilates, and Kegel) daily. Learn about these exercises from professionals online
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights as it may damage your pelvic floor.
  • Do not ignore issues like chronic coughing and constipation, and get them addressed.
  • Maintain healthy weight as obese women are more likely to develop pelvic floor disorders
  • Make use of a pelvic floor muscle ‘dilator’ a few days before your delivery for a more relaxed vaginal delivery.

Talk to your gynecologist or you may consult a specialist online to know more about the preventive measures for pelvic floor problems.

Is pelvic floor dysfunction treatable?

 woman sitting in the woods and contemplating=
The answer is YES! Many forms of pelvic floor problems are treatable. With some pelvic floor muscle training, these muscles can be successfully strengthened and their functioning restored to a great extent.

Following treatment options are available:

  • Dietary changes for treating overactive bladder. Certain dietary substances such as coffee, citrus fruits, chocolate, carbonated and/or alcoholic beverages, and acidic or spicy foods affect your bladder functions and cause an increase in your trips to the washroom. So such substances must be avoided
  • Medicines can be prescribed for treating bladder and bowel dysfunction
  • Use of pessary (a small device inserted in the vagina or rectum to support pelvic organs) for treating prolapse. Learn more about this from your doctor
  • Surgical intervention
  • Certain pelvic floor muscle exercises are taught to strengthen these muscles. You may learn about these exercises from professionals or physiotherapists

For more query on pelvic floor concerns or any other issues related to women health, consult today an OB-GYN online!

About the Author

Palak Sharma

Palak Sharma holds a bachelors degree in Pharmacy. She has more than 5 years of experience in medical and scientific content generation. So far, she has developed various technical documents for submission in the regulatory bodies such as USFDA, and European Union; eLearning study materials, articles, as well as written health blogs for digital marketing.

Comments (1)
  • Nitin
    Helpful in general. Good source of information for family.

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