The pelvic floor is a complex structure composed of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissue. This structure is responsible for providing support to your uterus, bladder, vagina, and rectum.
When the pelvic floor is weak or damaged, you won’t be able to control the muscles and organs in this area like you normally can. One of the most common symptoms of a weak pelvic floor is incontinence, which occurs when you leak urine occasionally or are unable to control the flow of urine at all.
Women with a weak pelvic floor may also develop pelvic organ prolapse. This disorder occurs when an organ in the pelvis falls from its usual location.
Dr. Ohanian may suspect a pelvic floor disorder based on your symptoms. However, to confirm her suspicions, she’ll probably begin with a pelvic exam. During this exam, she may be able to see signs of abnormalities, such as pelvic organ prolapse.
If you’re experiencing incontinence, Dr. Ohanian may order other tests as well. Some of the tests for incontinence include urinalysis, post-void residual measurements, cystoscopy, and urodynamic testing.
The treatments Dr. Ohanian recommends to you depends on the nature of your problem. However, in many cases, she’ll recommend pelvic floor exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor, which can improve the symptoms of incontinence or prevent pelvic organ prolapse.
Some people with pelvic floor dysfunction may only need some lifestyle changes to control their symptoms. For example. Dr. Ohanian may suggest that you schedule regular trips to the bathroom to avoid urine leakage. She may also tell you not to drink large amounts of caffeine or other substances that make you need to urinate more frequently.
In cases where pelvic floor problems are severe, Dr. Ohanian may recommend the placement of a medical device or a surgical procedure to fix the problems. These treatments are more invasive and carry more risks. However, Dr. Ohanian will help you weigh the risks and benefits of every procedure so you can make the right decision.