February 10, 2020

Woman Holding Pelvis

It’s easy to assume your urinary tract is always to blame for bladder symptoms. But, for women, several common bladder issues can be due to pelvic floor disorders.

At Bela Vida Urogynecology, our experienced providers specialize in women’s urogynecological issues. If you’re having bladder problems, you can rely on us to accurately diagnose the cause so we can treat your condition, not just your symptoms.

Here’s what you should know about pelvic floor disorders and how they can impact your bladder function.

Understanding pelvic floor disorders 

Both men and women have a pelvic floor. This area describes the connective tissues, nerves, muscles, and ligaments at the bottom of your pelvis. In women, this sling-like structure supports the uterus, vagina, bladder, and rectum, holding them in place and helping them function properly.

Nearly 25% of women have pelvic floor disorders (PFD) caused by weakened muscles or tears in the connective tissue. Common causes of PFD include:

  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Being older, overweight, or obese
  • A family history of PFD
  • Smoking
  • Jobs with a lot of heavy lifting or physical exertion

Without treatment, PFD can cause uncomfortable bladder and bowel symptoms. And, without proper pelvic floor support, your uterus, bladder, or bowel can slip out of place and move into your vagina.

Bladder changes caused by pelvic floor disorders

When you have problems with your pelvic floor, it can affect how organs in the area function, especially your bladder. These common bladder changes can indicate PFD, not an issue with your urinary tract.

1. Urinary incontinence

If you’re racing to the bathroom more often than usual — or leaking urine when you don’t want to — you have urinary incontinence. Even though your chances of having incontinence increase with age, you shouldn’t consider it a normal part of the aging process. Changes in bladder control often indicate pelvic floor dysfunction.

2. Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs are a common problem for women; over half will have at least one during their lifetime, and one in four live with chronic infections. However, while UTIs are common, having two or more within six months could indicate an underlying condition, like PFD.

3. Difficulty peeing or completely emptying your bladder

When you have bladder symptoms that include problems peeing, emptying your bladder, or a bulge in your vagina that you need to press to urinate, your urinary tract probably isn’t to blame. These symptoms are especially common if a pelvic organ has prolapsed, or dropped, into your vagina.

Treating PFD

As urogynecological specialists, we offer a wide range of treatments designed especially for women. Depending on the cause of your pelvic floor dysfunction, we might recommend a variety of therapies, such as:

  • Behavior changes, like not straining while urinating
  • Exercises designed to strengthen and relax pelvic floor muscles
  • Medications, like muscle relaxants or estrogen therapy
  • Physical therapy and biofeedback
  • A vaginal device called known as a pessary to support your pelvic organs

If your PFD doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, we may recommend surgical pelvic floor reconstruction.

Don’t ignore your bladder symptoms. Contact us to book an appointment at our Oviedo or Kissimmee, Florida, office by calling or scheduling online today.