About Female Pelvic Health
Many women suffer silently with pelvic disorders that can cause pain, frequent trips to the bathroom, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
These conditions become more common as you age. Certain other factors — like pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, fibroids and prior pelvic surgery — can contribute the weakening and stretching of the pelvic muscles.
However, it is important to know that these conditions are not a normal part of aging, nor do you have to live with the symptoms. We offer a range of nonsurgical and surgical treatment options that can help. And our pelvic pain support group can help you learn to cope and to better manage your pain.
The signs and symptoms of female pelvic disorders vary from woman to woman. Symptoms may be mild, like a sensation of pressure in the pelvic area. As these conditions become more severe, you may experience a variety of symptoms.
Bladder and bowel incontinence symptoms.
The lower urinary system consists of the ureters, bladder, urethra and sphincter muscle. The bladder is a balloon-like organ with a muscular wall that expands and contracts. Urine received from your kidneys is stored in the bladder. It is then emptied by a contraction of the bladder muscle.
The sphincter muscle sits right below the bladder and tightens until it is time to empty the bladder, keeping urine in. As urination begins, the sphincter opens as the bladder pushes the urine out a tube called the urethra.
Urination takes place only when the muscles and nerves are working correctly. Certain conditions, like stroke, head injury or bladder or back surgery may effect nerve function. People can also have urine leakage due to weakening of the muscles of the pelvic floor. This is a common condition as women age, especially if they have had vaginal childbirths.
Learn more about treatment for incontinence.
Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.
Prolapse is the "falling" of any pelvic floor organ, like the bladder, uterus or bowel. It occurs when the connective tissue or muscles are too weak to hold the organ in place. This is a very common problem for women as they age, particularly after childbirth. Uterine prolapse (when the uterus "falls") always involves some degree of vaginal vault prolapse.
Women with prolapse often have a sense of heaviness in the vagina or pelvis. It may feel like they are sitting on a ball, or there may be a bulge from the vaginal area. This may be more pronounced after standing for long periods of time, and the pressure may reduce on its own when lying down at night.
Because these symptoms are not unique to prolapse, it is important to find a doctor who can help determine the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Learn more about treatment for pelvic organ prolapse.
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