The Center for Pelvic Health

What are Pelvic Floor Disorders?

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments and connective tissues that are located at the lowest part of the pelvis. The pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the internal pelvic organs (bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum). Loss of support or dysfunction of these structures can lead to the following pelvic floor disorders.

Loss of Bowel Control

Accidental bowel leakage can occur due to many factors, including dietary choices, bowel motility issues and the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. This can result in unintended leakage of gas, liquid or solid stool.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Child bearing can result in stretching of the tissues that support the vaginal walls. When these tissues become stretched, prolapse of pelvic organs occurs. This is often referred to as a "dropped bladder." This can cause a sensation of pelvic pressure or heaviness.

Urinary Incontinence

The most common bladder control problems can be broadly divided into two groups:

  • Group one is called stress urinary incontinence and is characterized by leakage of urine with activities like coughing, laughing or sneezing.
  • Group two is called overactive bladder. Patients with this condition often have a strong desire to go to the bathroom very frequently and sometimes leak urine on the way.

All of these conditions are very common and different treatment options are available, including dietary modification, pelvic floor physical therapy, medication and surgical repair (if necessary). Meeting with one of our pelvic floor disorder experts will provide an opportunity to examine your individual condition and customize a treatment plan that works best for you.