Pelvic Floor Disorders
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
When the uterus, bladder or rectum lose elasticity and descend or bulge into the vagina, women can feel pressure in the lower abdomen. Also, they actually may see something falling out of the vagina, experience urinary or fecal incontinence, become constipated and/or have diminished sexual function. This condition, known as pelvic organ prolapse, occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs weaken or break. In some cases, it is the result of stretching during pregnancy and childbirth. It also can result from pelvic injury associated with the abdominal pressure of coughing, heavy lifting, constipation, pelvic surgery, neurological injury, obesity, menopause and hormonal deprivation or medications. Anatomical abnormalities are another cause for women experiencing these same functional symptoms. GW’s Pelvic Floor Center offers precise techniques and minimally invasive procedures to restore the anatomy of the vagina and structural support to their normal states.
When the area between the rectum and vagina, known as the rectovaginal septum, becomes thin and weak, the rectum may bulge into the vagina during bowel movements. Constipation, a difficult childbirth and hysterectomy can cause this weakness of the pelvic structures. If a rectocele becomes a problem, the doctors at the GW Pelvic Floor Center can offer multimodality management options for treatment.
Like rectocele, cystocele is common among women with weak pelvic floor muscles. When the muscles at the base of the bladder become too thin and weak, the bladder can fall down into the vagina. This may affect urination. GW’s Pelvic Floor Center can offer multimodality management options for treatment.
Urinary Incontinence in Women and Men
Stress urinary incontinence causes urine to escape when a person laughs, sneezes, coughs or strains in any way. The embarrassment caused by urinary incontinence frequently prevents people from getting timely help from their doctors. Although many people regard this condition as a natural part of aging, it is not natural and can affect people of all ages, particularly those women who have experienced vaginal delivery of their children.
Following surgery or radiation treatment for prostate, bladder and colorectal cancers, men sometimes experience the unpleasant side effect of urinary incontinence.
The GW Pelvic Floor Center is able to accurately diagnose the problem and offer many different modalities for treatment.
The bladder is made up of muscle and sometimes this muscle can contract spastically and cause feelings of urinary urgency and frequency. Sometimes this may be associated with incontinence and discomfort. This may cause distress and inconvenience to men and women with this problem. People with severe overactive bladder will change or limit their daily activities because of the embarrassment and discomfort that is caused by overactive bladder.
The doctors at the GW Pelvic Floor Center are experts at the diagnosis and treatment of overactive bladder. Treatments for this problem include medications, minimally invasive surgeries and for severe or refractory cases, the doctors in the Pelvic Floor Center offer technologically advanced treatment options and surgery.
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) and Urinary Retention
An enlarged prostate could cause many urinary symptoms such as frequency of urination, awakening through the night to urinate and an inability to empty the bladder completely. This can significantly affect a man’s quality of life. The GW Pelvic Floor Center offers minimally invasive treatments to relieve BPH symptoms.
Neurourology services at the GW Pelvic Floor Center can help patients with various types of neurologic problems that affect the bladder. Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and spinal disorders are conditions that have an effect on the bladder. The GW Pelvic Floor Center is able to evaluate these patients and offer nonsurgical and surgical treatment options.
Affecting people of all ages, fecal incontinence is the inability to control the bowels. More common in women, fecal incontinence is not a normal part of aging. People who suffer with this condition also are reluctant to socialize because they are afraid to have an “accident” in public.
Causes of fecal incontinence include: constipation, damage to the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum, loss of storage capacity in the rectum, diarrhea and pelvic floor dysfunction. Physicians practicing at GW’s Pelvic Floor Center treat fecal incontinence with recommended dietary changes, medication, bowel training or surgery. Regaining fecal continence may require more than one treatment.
Infrequent bowel movements (less than three times per week), the need to strain more than fifty percent of the time when having bowel movements, bloating and abdominal pain are symptoms of constipation. The GW Pelvic Floor Center provides patients with bowel management procedures, surgical repair and pelvic floor rehabilitation to correct these abnormalities.