Urinary Leakage

And other pelvic floor fun

OK fine, there’s actually nothing super fun about pelvic floor dysfunction, but it’s also nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it’s often a result of women doing the amazing things their (and only their) bodies can do. So we say, hold your head up high as you make a run for the bathroom. And talk about it—because, in many cases, there’s a way to improve your symptoms.

  • The basics

  • What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
  • What conditions are associated with it?
  • How is pelvic floor dysfunction treated?
  • What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

    The all-time favorite topic of discussion among the 5-and-under crowd, incontinence, is also a common topic in our offices. Our lingo, however, is a bit more highfalutin. The pelvic floor refers to all the muscles, tissues and nerves in the lowest part of the pelvis responsible for sup-porting the bladder, vagina, rectum and other organs located in the pelvis. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur when these muscles or tissues are injured or weakened. This can happen as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or abdominal surgery, or it can happen over time as a result of strenuous activity, chronic conditions or age.

  • What conditions are associated with it?

    Conditions associated with pelvic floor dysfunction can include:

    Stress urinary incontinence, or leakage of urine when pressure is put on the bladder. This can occur during exercise, or everyday activities like coughing or sneezing (the infamous Pee Sneeze—not to be confused with the Snart). It can be caused by damage or weakening of the pelvic muscles and tissues that support the bladder.

    Overactive bladder and urinary urgency incontinence, or having to go to the bathroom frequently and/or urgently, and even the loss of urine due to overwhelming urge. Many women experience a combination of stress and urge incontinence—so it’s important to work with someone who has experience diagnosing and recommending treatments that address the underlying causes of each.

    Drop (prolapse) of the uterus or other pelvic organs, which may feel like pressure or fullness in the vagina or pelvis or a bulge at the opening of the vagina.

    Fecal incontinence, or accidental bowel leakage, which could feel like the sudden urge to have a bowel movement (urge incontinence) or not recognizing that you need to (passive incontinence).

  • How is pelvic floor dysfunction treated?

    That’s right—many of these annoying and uncomfortable symptoms can be treated! One of the most common conditions associated with pelvic floor dysfunction is urinary incontinence and it is usually very receptive to treatment. Whether you’re experiencing incontinence or another condition related to the pelvic floor, we’re here to help.

Is this normal?

Answers you want, questions you may not want to ask

Additional Resources for You

Voices for PFD

A great resource from the American Urogynecologic Society for women experiencing pelvic floor disorders, including bladder and bowel control issues and pelvic organ prolapse.

Michele Zimmerman-Pike, CNM, MSN - Nurse-Midwife in Portland, OR Michele Zimmerman-Pike, CNM, MSN
Nurse-Midwife
Obstetrics and Gynecology
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