Roughly 25% of all women have experienced pelvic floor weakness or tearing due to childbirth, heavy lifting, overweight, family history, age, or a combination of factors. You may think that a pelvic floor disorder (PFD) is something you’ll just have to live with, but many PFDs can be treated successfully.
If you’re having pelvic floor issues, first, talk to your primary care provider or gynecologist about your symptoms. Your provider can refer you to a urogynecologist – a specialist trained to treat women with PFD.
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How a Urogynecology Specialist Can Help
The specialist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include:
- Lifestyle changes.
- Physical therapy.
Having a PFD doesn’t always mean you need surgery. You can make a few lifestyle changes that may be enough to control your symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Help
You may need to:
- Lose weight.
- Mange your fluid intake by restricting when and how much you drink.
- Avoid fluids that create the urge to urinate like caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
- Exercise regularly.
- Perform Kegel exercises regularly.
- Retrain your bladder.
- Stop smoking.
- Wear panty liners, pads, diapers, or briefs.
If these changes don’t help, your doctor may talk to you about using a vaginal device called a pessary, which helps support the pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapy, medications, or surgery also may be recommended.
The most important first step you can take is to talk about your symptoms – no matter how embarrassing. You are not alone, and you have a wide range of treatment choices to help you manage your specific condition and symptoms.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
The UPMC Department of Urology offers a wide variety of specialized care for diseases of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs, including erectile dysfunction, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, prostate cancer, and more. We have a multifaceted team of physicians and researchers working together to provide the best care to both children and adults. Our team is nationally renowned for expertise in highly specialized technologies and minimally invasive surgical techniques. To find a provider near you, visit our website.