WHAT ARE PELVIC FLOOR DISORDERS?
Pelvic floor disorders refers to a group of disorders that can present with urinary symptoms, bowel, sexual dysfunction and/or pain. The pelvic floor consists of a system of muscles and ligaments and provides anatomical support for the pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum and the reproductive organs in both men and women. Common pelvic floor disorders include: Urinary incontinence which is the involuntary leakage of urine and pelvic organ prolapse where the uterus, bladder and bowel “drops” within the vagina and cause a bulge through the vagina canal.
SYMPTOMS OF PELVIC FLOOR DISORDERS
Symptoms depends on the nature of problem and may include urine leaks, frequent need to urinate, poor urine flow and straining to pass urine, sensation of a lump, constipation, muscle pain/spasms and sexual dysfunction.
DIAGNOSING PELVIC FLOOR DISORDERS
A physical examination is essential. Some diagnostic tests for this condition include a cystoscopy which examines the insides of the bladder, urinalysis to check for bladder infection etc and urodynamic test to look at how the bladder and urethra are working.
TREATMENTS FOR PELVIC FLOOR DISORDERS
Treatments for pelvic floor disorders depend on the underlying issues. A therapeutic strategy is tailored to each patient’s individual needs. The range of treatments includes Lifestyle changes, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Minimally Invasive options and lastly Surgery.
Lifestyle changes may include dietary changes like avoiding foods and drinks that may irritate the bladder. These can include coffee, tea, alcohol, and spicy foods. Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises which involves squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. If performed in the right way and regularly, it may help to improve the symptoms of pelvic floor disorders.
For those with urine leaks with exertion (stress urinary incontinence, SUI), a sling or tape can be inserted under the urethra to support it and prevent urine leakage.
Surgery is also an option for prolapse cases if non-surgical methods do not help.