Pelvic health is an essential issue for women of all ages. There are a number of common pelvic health concerns that women should be aware of to maintain their overall health and well-being.
1. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a common and often embarrassing problem for women of all ages. It is estimated that one in three women will experience some degree of urinary incontinence in their lifetime.
There are two main types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is the most common type, affecting about one in four women. It occurs when the bladder muscles are weakened, resulting in leakage when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
Urge incontinence is less common, but can be more severe. It is caused by an overactive bladder muscle that contracts too often, causing a strong urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full.
Several things can contribute to urinary incontinence, including:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Pelvic surgery
- Chronic cough
Fortunately, there are treatments available for urinary incontinence. The type of treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the incontinence. For example, pelvic floor exercises can be helpful for stress incontinence, while medications and pelvic floor exercises may be effective for urge incontinence.
2. Urinary Retention
Urinary retention is a condition in which a person cannot empty their bladder completely. This can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including urinary frequency, urgency, and leakage.
There are a number of different causes of urinary retention, but the most common is pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when the muscles and tissues that support the pelvic organs are weak or damaged. This can cause the organs to drop down into the vagina, putting pressure on the bladder and urethra, making it difficult to urinate.
The good news is that several treatments are available that can help improve pelvic floor muscle function and relieve urinary retention. These treatments include pelvic floor muscle exercises, electrical stimulation, and surgery.
3. Prolapse of the Pelvic Organs
Prolapse of the pelvic organs is a common and often debilitating condition that affects many women. The pelvic organs, including the uterus, vagina, bladder, and rectum, are supported by a complex system of muscles and ligaments. When these muscles and ligaments become weak or stretched, the organs can begin to sag or drop down from their normal position.
Depending on which organs are affected, there are several different types of prolapse. The most common type is uterine prolapse, which occurs when the uterus descends into the vagina. Other types of prolapse include vaginal prolapse, in which the vaginal walls collapse; rectal prolapse, in which the rectum protrudes into the vagina; and bladder prolapse, in which the bladder bulges into the vagina.
Prolapse can occur in any woman, but it is most common in women who have had multiple vaginal births, are overweight, have a family history of the condition, or have chronic coughing or constipation.
Symptoms of prolapse vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Still, they can include vaginal bleeding, urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction.
Prolapse is usually diagnosed through a physical exam, during which the doctor will check for bulging or prolapsing organs. Further testing, such as a pelvic floor ultrasound, may be necessary in some cases.
Treatment for prolapse depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, lifestyle changes, such as pelvic floor exercises, losing weight, avoiding constipation, and avoiding activities that put a strain on the pelvic floor, may be enough to improve symptoms. More severe cases may require surgery to repair or remove the prolapsed organ, with subsequent pelvic floor physiotherapy.
When you experience any pelvic health symptoms and concerns, it is important to talk to your doctor or pelvic health physiotherapist. They will be able to help you find the best treatment for your situation.
If you suffer from any of these issues, consider physiotherapy for pelvic health in Whitehorse, offered by Whitehorse Physiotherapy. Our physiotherapists have specialized training in pelvic health, acupuncture, and manual therapy. Book an appointment today to learn more.