If you’re a woman, you’ve probably heard that term many times in your adult life. And as you age, the words will only become more familiar. But even with the frequency of their use and the increasing focus that the topic gains in women’s healthcare, many people still have questions about what exactly the pelvic floor is, what it does, and what can happen when the pelvic floor isn’t functioning as it should.
Q: What is it?
A: The pelvic floor, as it pertains to women, is the system of muscles, connective tissue, nerves, and ligaments located in the pelvis that support organs such as the uterus, the bladder, the vagina, and the rectum and help them perform properly. For men, it refers to the tissues, nerves, and muscles that support the organs of the pelvis including the bladder and rectum.
Q: What is a PFD?
A: A pelvic floor disorder refers to the inability of the pelvic floor to support the pelvic organs, which occurs when it has been damaged or has become weakened. Three main types of pelvic floor disorders are urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and fecal incontinence.
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Q: What is PFP?
A: Pelvic floor pain, or pelvic pain, occurs in the pelvic region or the area of the lower abdomen located below the navel.
For women, pelvic pain symptoms are often indicative of conditions including:
- Fibroid uterus
- PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease
- Interstitial cystitis
- Digestive disorders
Q: Can a pelvic floor disorder be treated?
A: To treat a pelvic floor disorder, surgery may be deemed necessary, but some alternative methods of therapy include Kegels exercise, which is a type of exercise that strengthens the muscles in that region and is often effective in cases of prolapse. When a woman is suffering from pelvic muscle pain, however, it may be a sign that these exercises have been performed too frequently or that there has been some other trauma to the pelvic floor muscles.
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