The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, nerves and connective tissue that support organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, rectum, uterus, and vagina (women) and prostate (men). If the pelvic floor becomes weak or damaged, it can affect urinary control and cause pain or pressure.
As we age, pelvic floor disorders are more common. Did you know that 1 in 3 women have a pelvic floor disorder?₁ It can be uncomfortable or embarrassing to speak with a provider about these problems, but these issues are common and respond well to treatment.
Dysfunction occurs when you are unable to control the muscles that help you empty your bowels completely. People who have pelvic floor dysfunction often have tight, weak or out of balance pelvic floor muscles.
- Urinary problems. Incontinence, urgency, frequency, painful or incomplete urination.
- Bowel problems. Incontinence, constipation, unable to empty bowels completely, straining or pain during movement.
- Heavy feelings or pain in the lower abdomen or back.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Childbirth. With each delivery a woman’s risk increases.
- Obesity or being overweight
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Chronic constipation
- Trauma that has damaged nerves and or other structures in the pelvic floor.
If you are experiencing any of the common signs above, talk to your provider today. Pelvic floor dysfunction is treatable and a personalized plan may improve your quality of life.
₁ Science Daily, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, “One in Three Has Pelvic Floor Disorders,” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080302150723.htm (March 5, 2008)