According to research, almost 40 percent of women in the United States will have common pelvic disorders by 60.
Pelvic floor problems are widespread, yet they’re simple to remedy. The pelvic floor aids bladder and bowel control, sexual function. It acts as a “home” for the pelvic organs, such as the urine bladder, rectum, and vagina, maintaining them in proper alignment.
Pelvic floor problems, on the other hand, can and do occur. Urinary difficulties, lack of pelvic organ support or prolapse, and bowel dysfunction are common concerns. One of the most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction is childbirth. And the risk of dysfunction rises as a woman has more children.
In this article, we are going to learn about some of the common pelvic disorders in women.
5 Common Pelvic Disorders in Women
Here are the 5 most common pelvic disorders in women with symptoms and treatment.
1. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous muscle tissue growths in the uterus. Fibroids can range in size and quantity, from a single growth to many growths, and from very small to very big. By 50, up to 70% to 80% of all women will develop fibroids. Fibroids are medically referred to as leiomyoma or myoma.
Symptoms of Fibroids
Fibroids can produce very mild symptoms, none at all, or severe ones. These uterine growths can cause the following symptoms in women who do have symptoms:
- Intrathoracic pressure of the bladder or rectum
- Excessive urination
- Constipation or rectal discomfort
- Lower back or stomach pain
- Cramping and a variety of pains, ranging from moderate to severe
- Severe bleeding, sometimes accompanied by blood clots
- Spotting or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Longer or more frequent period
Treatment of Fibroids
- Pain Medication: Menstrual cramps can be treated with pain relievers such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
- Birth Control: Oral contraceptives control estrogen and progestin levels. This usually results in lighter periods and can help with the pain associated with fibroids, such as excessive bleeding and cramps. Progestin injections or progestin-releasing IUDs are two more hormonal birth control options that may help with fibroid symptoms.
- Other Hormone Therapies: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are medications that may provide temporary symptom relief from fibroids by stopping periods and reducing fibroids. Because GnRH agonists block estrogen production, they can also induce bone loss, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. When the treatment is over, the fibroids will shrink back to their original size.
2. Menorrhagia (Heavy Period)
Menorrhagia is a medical term for abnormally heavy or prolonged menstrual periods. When a woman’s period arrives, she often has heavy flow days and cramps. But menorrhagia is uncommon.
You’ll need to change your pad or tampon every hour when your flow is so heavy with menorrhagia.
Symptoms of Menorrhagia
Women suffering from menorrhagia may be needed to:
- Change pads or tampons at least once per hour for at least a day.
- To control heavy flow, wear two pads at the same time.
- Avoiding things they like due to painful cramps
- Have a period of longer than seven days
- Tiredness or shortness of breath
- Bleeding in between periods
- Bleed after menopause
Your doctor may be able to use these ways to treat your heavy periods:
- Birth control. Taking birth control tablets can change the hormonal balance in your body, bringing an end to heavy periods. Another alternative for reducing your periods is to have an IUD that gives off hormones.
- Certain drugs. Your doctor may recommend medicine to help you control your heavy periods. You may only need to take medicine while you are on your period.
- Surgery. If your doctor finds polyps or fibroids, they can be reduced or removed. This may bring the heavy bleeding to a stop.
3. Overactive Bladder
Every day, how frequently do you go to the bathroom? Is it more than 7 – 8 times — and you can’t wait any longer? Are you getting up more than once or twice a night to go to the bathroom?
Do your toilet breaks interfere with your job, social life, or relationships? You might have an overactive bladder. OAB affects at least 30 million Americans.
What Causes This?
A urinary tract infection is a simple and easy-to-treat cause of OAB. Other potential causes include nerve damage after an accident or pelvic surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney illness, medication side effects, and neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. However, the cause of OAB is often unclear.
Treatments of Overactive Bladder:
- Lifestyle Changes. Reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus, and spicy meals to lessen the symptoms of OAB. But don’t cut back on fluids. This may cause your urine to become more concentrated, which may irritate your bladder. Consume a high-fibre diet to prevent constipation, which can worsen OAB. Your doctor may advise you to try bladder retraining through a series of scheduled bathroom breaks.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises. Doctors commonly recommend Kegel exercises. You can do Kegels anywhere – in the vehicle, at a meeting, or while watching TV – and no one will notice. Simply squeeze and hold the muscles used to stop the flow of pee. Then let go and repeat. Biofeedback treatment can sometimes help you learn which muscles to use and measure your muscle strength.
- Medications for OAB: Medication is usually the next step if lifestyle modifications and behavioral therapies do not improve OAB symptoms. The most often used OAB medicines are anticholinergics. You take these orally at least once every day. Topical estrogens (vaginal rings, pills, or creams) are also used to treat OAB symptoms in women. The most often used OAB medicines are anticholinergics or beta-adrenergic agonists (mirabegron, vibegron).
4. Pelvic Organ Prolapse
When the pelvic floor tissue and muscles no longer support the pelvic organs, they drop (prolapse) from their usual position. The vagina, bladder, cervix, uterus, urethra, and rectum are all pelvic organs. In pelvic organ prolapse, the bladder is the most commonly affected organ.
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms include:
- A heaviness around your lower stomach and genitals
- A dragging pain inside your vagina
- Feeling as if something is going down into your vagina – it may seem as if you’re sitting on a small ball
- Seeing a lump or bulge in your vaginal area or coming from it
- Pain or numbness during sex
Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If you have no symptoms or if the prolapse is mild and not troubling you, you may not need medical treatment.
However, making some lifestyle changes will still help. These include the following:
- Decreasing weight if you are overweight
- Avoiding heavy lifting
- Treating or preventing constipation
If your prolapse is serious or your symptoms interfere with your everyday life, there are many more treatment alternatives to consider.
These are some examples:
- Exercises for the pelvic floor
- Hormone therapy
- Vaginal pessaries
5. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The female reproductive organs are infected with pelvic inflammatory disease. If you left it untreated, then it can cause infertility. Every year, about one million women are diagnosed with PID.
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PID symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Lower abdominal pain and upper right abdomen pain
- Fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting
- Painful sexual intercourse or urinating
Treatment of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics begin as soon as possible.
- Treatment for your partner. Your sexual partner or partners should be checked and treated to prevent reinfection with an STI. Infected partners may not show any symptoms.
- Temporary abstinence. Avoid sexual activity until your treatment is finished and your symptoms have gone.
The Bottom Line
Nowadays, pelvic disorders in women are very common. If a woman has more than one type of pelvic disorder, she may need a combination of nonsurgical and surgical therapies.
That’s why, if you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.