Common pelvic health problems are listed below and further information on management options for each condition can be found in our blog.
Stress Urinary Incontinence
When you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or with other activities such as sport, running or lifting, this is known as ‘stress urinary incontinence’. It is a common problem but is not normal, you should never feel that it is just something you must put up with!
Urge Urinary Incontinence
If you feel a sudden sense of urgency and have to rush to the toilet, experiencing urine loss before you get there, you have ‘urge urinary incontinence’.
You have urinary urgency if you feel a sudden sense of urgency and have to rush to the toilet to empty your bladder, without experiencing urine loss before you get there.
Many people struggle with the urge to urinate frequently throughout the day and at night, this can be very disruptive to their daily routine, especially if travelling, and can significantly impact sleep quality overnight. Waking more than once overnight to empty the bladder is called ‘nocturia’ and long term it increases the risk of falls and injuries relating to this.
Faecal / Flatal Incontinence and Urgency
You have symptoms of faecal and flatal incontinence if you have difficulty controlling your wind (flatus), have to rush to the toilet with bowel motions (faecal urgency) or occasions of bowel incontinence (faecal incontinence). This can be a distressing problem to experience but responds very well to a number of physiotherapy treatment options including lifestyle advice, diet adjustments and tailored pelvic floor exercise.
The sensation of incomplete emptying can occur with both the bladder and bowel and can present in a number of different ways and have many different causes. Sometimes incomplete emptying of the bowel is true constipation but there are also a number of other causes which need to be investigated to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment and it is effective. These problems can often respond well to some very simple strategies from your physiotherapist!
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
A pelvic organ prolapse can cause a bothersome feeling of heaviness, dragging, a lump or bulge in the pelvic/vaginal area. It happens when the bladder, uterus or bowel descend within the vaginal canal, and it is important to remember that it is a problem with the support system of each organ and not with the organ itself.
Pelvic & Sexual Pain
Pelvic, sexual and vulval pain are hidden problems and women often suffer in silence, or due to misdiagnosis, for years before they find help. They are very distressing problems and cause both physical and emotional suffering. People with pelvic or sexual pain may have been diagnosed with vaginismus, vulvodynia, dyspareunia, endometriosis, pudendal neuralgia, painful bladder syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and often have a combination of these problems contributing to their individual pain experience. Nerve and muscle overactivity, particularly in the pelvic nerves and pelvic floor muscles, lead to a number of problems, including ongoing pain in the region from increased tension and an inability to relax the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of penetration, causing problems with sex, and pain with tampon use and internal examinations with care providers.
There is strong evidence to support the role of pelvic health physiotherapy with additional training to treat a number of conditions across all life stages – from more commonly known pelvic health issues affecting women such as incontinence and prolapse, to pelvic and sexual pain concerns and also for helping children and adolescents with bed wetting or other bladder/bowel control concerns.
We hope the information in this blog has been useful and should always be considered in conjunction with an individual assessment with your physiotherapist and/or other health care provider skilled in the area such as a GP or gynaecologist.
We would love to help you manage your concerns and get you back achieving your goals worry –free!