Common Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions Associated with Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness

The pelvic floor muscles are located in the pelvis and provide a support system for the pelvic organs, as well as help provide control for urinary and fecal function. When these muscles become weak, a woman can experience a multitude of symptoms and be diagnosed with any of the following common pelvic floor dysfunctions:

  • Urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine):
    • Stress incontinence
    • Urge incontinence
    • Mixed incontinence (both stress and urge)
  • Fecal incontinence (involuntary loss of fecal matter/stool)
  • Pelvic organ prolapses: the loss of support of the pelvic organs and they begin to lose their proper positioning within the pelvic cavity
    • Cystocele: the bladder bulges into the vaginal canal
    • Enterocele: small intestines bulges into the vaginal canal
    • Uterine or vaginal vault prolapse: uterus drops into the vaginal canal or after a hysterectomy when the end of the vagina begins to drop into the vaginal canal
    • Rectocele: the rectum bulges into the vaginal canal
    • Rectal prolapse: the large intestines or rectum slips out of the anus

How to treat Common Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions

Non-invasive treatments are usually tried first. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is the first line of treatment, along with weight loss, general strengthening and conditioning, and behavioral modifications. A Kegel contraction is the name given to the exercise used to contract the pelvic floor muscles. For some women, it is difficult to contract the pelvic floor muscles and research has shown that biofeedback can be useful in helping to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The Joy ON Kehel is a biofeedback device that can be purchased to use at home to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and avoid common pelvic floor dysfunctions.

Authors

Lola Rosenbaum

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Elizabeth Bell

Clinical Specialist in Women’s Health

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