The term “pelvic floor” refers to the group of muscles that form a sling or hammock across the opening of a woman’s pelvis. These muscles, together with their surrounding tissues, keep all of the pelvic organs in place so that the organs can function correctly.
A pelvic floor disorder occurs when the pelvic muscles and connective tissue in the pelvis weaken or are injured. Disorders may result from pelvic surgery, radiation treatments, and, in some cases, pregnancy or vaginal delivery of a child. There are a variety of problems related to the pelvic floor.
Many women don’t need treatment for their pelvic floor disorder. In other cases, treatment for symptoms includes changes in diet, weight control, and other lifestyle changes. Treatment may also include surgery, medication, and use of a device placed in the vagina called a pessary that helps support the pelvic organs.
Exercises for the pelvic floor muscles (known as Kegel exercises) can often help strengthen the muscles around the openings of the urethra, vagina, and rectum. Treatments for incontinence can also include medication and bladder or bowel control training.
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