Trauma to the pelvic area caused by car accidents, surgery, obesity, and the overuse of supporting muscles, while age can also result in pelvic floor damage, but these issue can often be treated, according to a leading urologist.
Dr Preena Sivsankar, a member of the dedicated, multidisciplinary Pelvic Wellness Unit at The Urology Hospital in Pretoria, says pregnancy and childbirth are a major cause of pelvic floor damage.
Studies show about 50% of women who have more than one child will experience some form of pelvic disorder.
Supporting hammock of muscles
The pelvic floor refers to a supporting “hammock” of muscles around the bowel, bladder and uterus in women.
Research shows that pelvic floor disorders impact negatively on a women’s self-esteem, relationships with their partners and their ability to work.
Symptoms may include:
- Pain during sex
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Leaking of urine or faeces
- Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel
- A dragging sensation or “bulge” in the rectum or vagina
Don’t delay treatment
Sufferers sometimes do not disclose this condition due to stigma, said Dr Sivsankar, adding that most conditions can be effectively treated.
Dr Sivsankar affirms that pelvic floor disorders, once diagnosed, can often be managed, both conservatively or surgically as required. She cautions those with symptoms to seek treatment as soon as possible for the best outcomes.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.