Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in Women

Pelvic floor dysfunction, a disorder that happens when your pelvic floor muscles are too weak or too tight, is common and treatable. Around 25% of women have symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and wait, on average, around six years to get treatment.* 

You don’t have to live with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. It may be a sensitive topic for you to bring up with your OB-GYN or primary care provider, but we have seen it all, and treated it all. We’re here to help.

Pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms

You may have pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and not know that help is available. Our urogynecology team will diagnose and treat symptoms including:

  • Leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain
  • Prolapses (bulges) in your vagina
  • Urinary issues, like pain when you pee or having to go frequently
  • Constipation, bowel straining, or leaking stool

Causes of pelvic floor dysfunction

The main cause of pelvic floor dysfunction is a very weak or very tight pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is the “hammock” of muscles that supports your bladder, bowel, uterus, and vagina. When these muscles are weakened or damaged, many women experience pain or leakage. Some things that may cause pelvic floor dysfunction are:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Obesity
  • Chronic constipation
  • Genetics
  • Prior pelvic surgery
  • Aging
  • Menopause

Diagnosing pelvic floor dysfunction

Our urogynecologists, specialists in women’s pelvic floor disorders, can help diagnose pelvic floor dysfunction. They’ll start by asking you questions about your symptoms and medical history. They may do an internal exam and check for trigger points, bulges, spasms, or weakness in your vagina and rectum. Depending on your symptoms, you may also be given tests to see how well you can empty your bladder and bowel.

Pelvic floor dysfunction treatment

We have many ways to treat your particular type of pelvic floor dysfunction, including medications, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, pelvic floor therapy, and surgical procedures.

Pelvic floor medications

There are many supplements and medications that can help treat your symptoms. Your team may suggest fiber or stool softeners to help you have a complete bowel movement and topical estrogen, prescription medications, or onabotulinum toxin type A injections to help control a leaking or overactive bladder.

Pelvic floor biofeedback

Pelvic floor biofeedback helps you learn how to control, relax, or strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback uses special sensors attached to your body. As you tighten and relax specific muscles, your progress shows up on a computer screen. Pelvic floor biofeedback can help with urine and bowel leakage, constipation, and some types of pelvic pain.

Pelvic floor relaxation techniques

Some of the techniques your team may suggest to help relax your pelvic floor muscles include breathing from your diaphragm, meditating, and stretching various muscles in your lower back, hips, and inner thighs.

Pelvic floor therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is a special type of physical therapy for your pelvic floor muscles. It can help you regain control of your body. The goal of pelvic floor therapy at AHN is to reduce your symptoms using internal and external treatments and exercises.

Pelvic floor surgical procedures

Sometimes surgery may be the best way to treat your pelvic floor dysfunction. We offer minimally invasive and surgical procedures to relieve urinary incontinence and to repair bladder, uterus, and rectal prolapses. 

Urogynecology services at Allegheny Health Network: Why choose us?

Women with pelvic floor disorders can expect to receive compassionate, specialized treatment at AHN. We deliver:

  • Highly focused care: The AHN Center for Women’s Pelvic Health is home to physicians with specialized training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. They are experienced at identifying pelvic floor conditions and using advanced treatment options.
  • Sophisticated surgery alternatives: We offer noninvasive, specialized alternatives to surgery, including pelvic floor physical therapy, prosthetic devices, medications, and lifestyle modifications.
  • Minimally invasive treatment: At AHN, we want you to feel better with minimal disruption to your life. Our minimally invasive surgical options offer reduced recovery time.
  • Convenience: You can choose from several facilities close to home and throughout western Pennsylvania, so you can begin treatment quickly and more easily.

Conact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to request an appointment with an AHN urogynecologist.