Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) is a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. There are approximately 50 million women in US and billions of women worldwide who suffer with this problem, yet only a small percentage of the most severely affected ever discuss it. If you have a pelvic problem and catch it early enough, you may be able to correct the problem without surgery.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is usually the result of childbirth and occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched and damaged during pregnancy and childbirth. There are other factors that can cause PFD such as aging and weight gain.
Signs of PFD
The pelvic floor muscles keep the bladder, vagina and uterus and rectum high in the pelvis where they belong. When the pelvic floor weakens, these organs slip down from their original positions: When the bladder falls you leak urine. When it affects the vagina, you may have decreased sensitivity, and at worse, your vagina and uterus can fall out of your body. When it's the rectum, the result is fecal incontinence.
Quality of Life
PFD disrupts a woman's quality of life by altering social interactions, causing loss of self-esteem and depression.PFD cost millions of dollars, in fact, PFD costs more than breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer treatments combined. These conditions are often not discussed even amongst close family members. However, it can run in families and even if you don't have symptoms now, you may be prone to getting them in the future.
Pelvic floor health, just like a pap smear and a mammogram should be part of a woman's routine wellness exam. Be proactive and bring it up during your next medical exam. With early diagnosis, these disorders are more easily treated. Most of these disorders can be prevented by strengthening your pelvic floor.
Don't fret. Pelvic floor dysfunction is often both preventable and treatable. Most medical organizations recommend pelvic rehabilitation.
Take the Pelvic Health Quiz
If you are pregnant, you can possibly avoid PFD by starting pelvic health training early after childbirth. Ask your medical professional.
If you are not pregnant...Symptoms
- Do you occasionally experience an involuntary loss of urine when exercising, laughing, coughing, heavy lifting or any activity where you physically exert yourself?
- Are you using pads or other forms of protection to absorb leakage?
- Do you feel a sudden need to urinate and can hardly make it to the bathroom on time?
- Do you have an involuntary loss of fecal material when straining?
- Do you feel a "ball" or an unusual "sensation" in your vaginal area?
- Has your partner ever said that they feel as if "you have something in there" (vaginal area)?
- Do you feel pain in your pelvic area?
- Have you ever leaked urine or feces during intercourse?
- Do you have to empty your bladder before intercourse for fear that you may leak urine during intercourse?
- Do you lack sensation during intercourse?
- Do you feel pain or discomfort from penetration during intercourse?
Check your answers on the following page & discuss them with a medical professional. Answers to the Pelvic Health Quiz
Too loose- through pelvic training these muscles can be strengthened and sensation can be improved.
Too tight- through pelvic training and visualization you can teach yourself to relax your muscles.