Pelvic Floor Pain: Definition and Statistics

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Should I see a doctor regarding pelvic pain?

Pelvic Floor Pain: Definition and Statistics

The pelvic floor is the pelvic diaphragm, which is the sphincter mechanism that controls the lower urinary tract, upper and lower vaginal supports and internal and external anal sphincters. The pelvic floor is made up of mostly muscles and ligaments. It holds everything in place.

The system of muscles and ligaments can be torn or can weaken through aging, menopause, connective tissue disorders, giving birth to several children, prior pelvic surgery and other degenrative neurologic conditions. When weakened or torn, organs can shift, bulge, push outward or push against each other.

Pelvic floor pain disorders include:

  • involuntary loss of bowel control
  • urinary incontinence
  • constipation
  • rectal pain
  • vaginal and/or rectal prolapse
  • pelvic pain/trauma
  • sexual dysfunction (Dyspareunia, Apareunia)

According to the University of Southern California's Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Floor Disorders, more than 50 percent of women aged 55 and older suffer from one or more of the above disorders due to pelvic floor disorder. Many women underreport the condition because of embarrassment. One in every three women will suffer sphincter muscle damage due to vaginal childbirth.

   

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