Patient Education

Time to Discuss PFD

What is PFD

Pelvic Floor disorders commonly known as "PFD's" are a range of conditions that affect the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue in the lowest part of the pelvis, called the pelvic floor. The bowel, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum are supported by the pelvic floor. Preventing these organs from coming down or out of the body. The pelvic floor also helps these organs operate properly.

What's the cause of PFD's?

Weakened pelvic floor muscles or tears in the connective tissue can causes a pelvic floor disorder. When the pelvic floor becomes injured, it may not effectively support those organs. Research is ongoing to identify causes of pelvic floor disorders.

What are the types of PFD?

The three most common types of pelvic floor disorders are:
1. pelvic organ prolapse
2. bladder control
3. bowel control


Let's Talk POP

Happy family women - grandmother, mum and babyWhat is Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?

POP stands for pelvic organ prolapse and it is the dropping of the pelvic organs due to the loss of normal support of the vagina. The pelvic organs are normally held in place by the pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor muscles become weakened, stretched, or damaged, the pelvic organs may fall downward. Women may feel or see tissue coming out the opening of their vagina. This tissue can be a prolapsing cervix and uterus or the walls of the vagina.

Who is at risk?

POP is common in women and the risk increases after childbirth. This is due to the pressure that is created on the internal organs in the abdomen from carrying and delivering a baby. However, not all women who have babies will develop POP, and there are some women who have gave birth several times and never develop prolapse. The risk of POP increases, as women get older. In addition, women who smoke have a greater risk of developing prolapse. It can also run in the family, making it a hereditary disorder. This means some women may be born with weaker tissues making them at higher risk for POP. Caucasian women are more likely to develop pelvic organ prolapse than African American women. There are other factors to consider in the risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse, such as pelvic floor injury and other health conditions.

Can I prevent it?

There is not one known way to prevent POP and women cannot change their genetic risk. However, there are lifestyle choices that can help women reduce their risk of developing prolapse.

See chart below:

DODON'T
Maintain a Normal Weight
  • Overweight women are at a significantly increased risk of developing prolapse.
  • If you are overweight, lost weight.
Smoke
  • Smoking increases your risk of POP.
  • If you smoke, quit.
Choose High Fiber and Drink Plenty of Fluids
  • A diet with plenty of fiber and fluids helps to maintain regular bowel function.
  • Constipation increases your risk for POP. Strain During Bowel Movements

Strain During Bowel Movements

  • Chronic straining and constipation increases your chances of developing prolapse.
  • This is especially true for rectocele, rectum or intestines fall (prolapse) into the vagina.
Exercise Your Body and Pelvic Muscles
  • Physical activity helps maintain normal weight, as well as regular good bowel function.
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) improve the strength of the pelvic floor and limit the likelihood of developing prolapse. Perform Extreme Repetitive Strenuous Activities

Perform Extreme Repetitive Strenuous Activities

  • Strong muscles are important for general health, especially as you age.
  • However, extreme repetitive activities put a stress on the pelvic area. 
  • This increases your risk of UI and pelvic injury
Get Your Health Checked
  • Chronic cough increases abdominal and pelvic pressure – see a doctor and get it treated.
  • Persistent constipation also requires further evaluation and treatment.

Use your Lower Back or Abdomen for Heavy Lifting

  • Learn how to lift safely with your legs and core.
  • Use your leg and arm muscles as much as possible.

Running


The Need to Know on Bladder Control

Common Types

Two common types of urinary incontinence are stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and overactive bladder. However, many women have mixed incontinence, which is a combination of symptoms of more than one type of bladder control problem.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

SUI occurs when physical activity increases pressure in the abdomen, placing pressure on the bladder. If the bladder cannot remain close when it experiences this increase in pressure, leakage of urine occurs. Common physical activities that cause leakage include sneezing, coughing, laughing, and exercising. Urine is pushed out through the urethra (the tube where urine comes out) from the rise in abdominal pressure.

Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive bladder is the involuntary loss of urine associated with a strong sense of the need to urinate. Up to 15% of women of all ages are affected by OAB. Common symptoms are frequency, urgency, and nocturia. Frequency is the need to rush to the bathroom many times within a day. Urgency is the sensation of needing to urinate immediately. Nocturia is waking up in the middle of the night at least twice to urinate.


Embarrassing, but Common: Bowel Control

Facts on Bowel Control

No need to feel embarrassed about bowel control issues! It is a common problem; in fact, one out of twelve people face bowel control problems. People of all ages are affected by bowel issues that can be caused by a health problem. It is true that women are more likely to be affected by bowel control problems than men are.

A bowel control disorder occurs when there is a disruption in the normal flow of emptying your stool. Since everyone's bowels are different, it is important to know your normal pattern and recognize when there is a change. Two changes to be on the alert for are fecal incontinence and constipation.

Common Types

Fecal incontinence is the involuntary discharge of bowel gas, mucus, and liquid or hard stool, and can be associated with a feeling of urgency to have a bowel movement. Constipation on the other hand is the difficulty or straining to having a bowel movement. In this instance, your stool could be hard and your bowel movements may be irregular or infrequent.

Diet

Changing your diet can help improve bowel movements. Adding between 25 to 30 grams of fiber to your diet, each day will help decrease bowel problems. Also, eating at regular times helps some women regulate bowel movements. Eating smaller but frequent meals may aid in food flowing through your gastrointestinal tract more easily.

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OUR BLOG

We are passionate about pelvic health and empowering women with knowledge! Our blog covers topics such as bladder health, pelvic floor physical therapy and sexual issues. Take a look and see if there's something you're experiencing that has been tough to talk about.