Although disorders of the pelvic floor are more common as we age, they are not a part of normal aging. It may be uncomfortable to discuss the symptoms of pelvic floor problems with your care provider, but many of these symptoms respond well to treatment, which will improve your quality of life.
The multidisciplinary team of experts with University of Minnesota Health will ensure that you receive a comprehensive treatment plan aimed at regaining control of your pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor dysfunction is a condition in which you are unable to control the muscles that help you empty your bowels completely. People who have pelvic floor dysfunction tend to contract their pelvic floor muscles rather than relax them, which is necessary for elimination. We offer gynecologists as well as pelvic urologists to evaluate and treat your problem.
If you have pelvic floor dysfunction, you may experience:
- Urinary problems, including incontinence, urgency, frequency, painful or incomplete urination
- Bowel problems, including incontinence, constipation, inability to empty the bowels completely, straining or pain when having a bowel movement
- A heavy feeling or pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
- Pain with sexual intercourse
Although the causes are largely unknown, pelvic floor disorders can be associated with many different factors:
- Childbirth: a woman’s risk goes up with each delivery
- Overweight or obesity
- Pelvic surgery, radiation or trauma that damaged nerves and other structures in the pelvic floor
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Chronic constipation
Pelvic floor dysfunction is diagnosed through a variety of means, including medical history and physical exam to evaluate your ability to control the muscles in your pelvic floor. Your physician may also order specific imaging tests to assess your condition.