Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Being a woman is not easy. Along with the responsibility of looking after the family, comes the responsibility of extending the family too. Childbirth is a natural phenomenon and a wonderful experience also but with it, comes an array of changes in the female body which at times become hard to handle.

One such change is the change in the pelvic floor. Of course, pregnancy and childbirth are one of the leading causes of pelvic floor disorder or pelvic floor dysfunction, but there are many other causes of it too. Give it a read!

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

The pelvic floor is the group of ligaments and muscles present in the pelvic region which are responsible for providing support to the organs present there such as urinary bladder and intestines in men and additionally the uterus in women.

Contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles facilitates the bowel movements, urination, and for women even sexual intercourse and childbirth. A pelvic floor dysfunction causes disorders that are not easy to deal with and if left untreated, it can result in long-term damage of the organs or infection.

What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?

The causes are not yet apparent, but can be:

  • Ageing
  • Childbirth, especially multiple childbirths
  • Overweight
  • Injury to the pelvic region
  • Nerve damage
  • Pelvic surgery

What are the symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

The symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent muscle spasms in the pelvic region or pelvis
  • Painful urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse, especially in women
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Constipation
  • Mild to severe pain felt in the pelvic region, genitals, or rectum
  • Mild to intense pressure in the pelvic region or rectal area

What are the disorders related to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor disorders are seen more commonly in women than in men. It is so common that every 1 in 11 women needs surgery for a pelvic floor disorder.

This is because the pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the organs present in the pelvis such as uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra and rectum. If the tissues of the pelvic floor are stretched, damaged or if the muscles become weak, the intestine drops down and protrudes into the vagina.

There are many types of pelvic floor disorders in women. A few of them are:

Rectocele

Posterior vaginal wall prolapses or proctocele or rectocele is a type of pelvic organ prolapse. It is the result of the muscle and ligament weakness in the pelvic floor. A rectocele is a herniation or bulge. The rectovaginal septum is a tissue present between the vagina and the rectum. Due to some reason this tissue becomes weak and stretches, which leads to rectocele. To make it simpler, the front wall of the rectum bulges against the posterior of the vagina giving it a bulgy appearance.

Treatment options like medicines, surgery and few lifestyle changes are enough to cure the issue.

Enterocele

Enterocele is commonly seen in women who have their uterus surgically removed through hysterectomy. Enterocele is a condition where the small intestine and the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) bulge downwards between the vagina and the rectum which causes a lot of discomfort.

Cystocele and Cystourethrocele

Cystocele or prolapsed bladder or dropped bladder is a condition where the bladder bulges or drops into the vagina. It happens when the ligaments that hold the bladder up and the muscle between the woman’s vagina and bladder weakens or stretches. Cystocele can be treated easily. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about.

Cystocele is mainly of 3 grades:

  • Grade 1: It is a mild condition where the urinary bladder does not drop too far into the vagina.
  • Grade 2: It is a moderate condition where the urinary bladder falls to the opening of the vagina.
  • Grade 3: It is a severe condition and should be given medical attention at the earliest. Here the urinary bladder bulges out from the opening of the vagina

Treatment options like surgery and few lifestyle changes are enough to cure the issue.

Prolapse of the uterus

It is a condition where the uterus drops down into the vagina due to weakening of the ligaments, muscles and connective tissues that supports the uterus. The bulge can be:

  • on the upper part of the vagina
  • up to the opening of the vagina
  • through the opening of the vagina

The symptoms of uterine prolapse can be urine incontinence, painful intercourse, difficult bowel movement and pain during walking.

Prolapse of the vagina

When the upper part of the vagina drops down into the lower part, this is termed asprolapse of the vagina. Here, the vagina turns inside out and results in protruding outside the body causing pain and soreness while sitting or walking.

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