Pelvic floor disorders involve a prolapsed, or dropping down, of the bladder, rectum, or uterus. These disorders are typically caused by weakness of or injury to the ligaments, connective tissue, and muscles of the pelvis.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that support the organs of the pelvis—the uterus, bladder, and rectum. If the muscles become weak or the ligaments or tissues are stretched or damaged, the pelvic organs may drop down and protrude into the wall of the vagina. If the disorder is severe, tissues may protrude all the way through the vagina and outside the body.

Pelvic floor disorders typically result from a combination of factors including:
•    Age
•    Tumors
•    Obesity
•    Injuries
•    Heavy Lifting
•    Nerve Disorders
•    Heredity factors
•    Chronic Coughing
•    Having a Hysterectomy
•    Delivering a baby vaginally
•    Frequent straining during bowel movements

There are several types of pelvic floor disorders. They each host varying symptoms and challenges. These disorders include:

•    A rectocele which results from weakening of the muscular wall of the rectum and the connective tissue around the rectum. This makes having a bowel movement difficult and may cause a sensation of constipation.

•    An enterocele which results from weakening of the connective tissue and ligaments supporting the uterus. An enterocele often causes no symptoms. However, some women have a sense of fullness or feel pressure or pain in the pelvis. Pain may also be felt in the lower back.

•    A cystocele results from weakening of the connective tissue and supporting structures around the bladder. This may cause stress incontinence—passage of urine during coughing, laughing, or any maneuver that increases pressure within the abdomen—or overflow incontinence—passage of urine when the bladder becomes too full.

•    Prolapse of the uterus which results from weakening of the connective tissue and ligaments supporting the uterus. The uterus may bulge only into the upper part of the vagina, into the middle part, or all the way through the opening of the vagina, causing total uterine prolapse. This may cause pain in the lower back or over the tailbone, although many women have no symptoms.

•    Prolapse of the vagina which occurs only in women who have had a hysterectomy. This may cause pain while sitting or walking. Sores may develop on the protruding vagina and cause bleeding and a discharge. It may cause a compelling or frequent need to urinate or a kink in the urethra which could hide urinary incontinence if present or make urinating difficult.

Pelvic disorders can have many effects and repercussions. Tell Dr. Simhaee if you’re suffering from symptoms that may lead to a diagnosis of a pelvic floor disorder.

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