Pelvic Relaxation

What are the types of pelvic support problems?

The main types of pelvic support problems are named according to which organ is bulging into or out of the vagina:

  • Cystocele-bladder ( some may cause urine leakage when you cough, sneeze, lift objects, or even walk)
  • Enterocele-small intestine
  • Rectocele-rectum (may make it very hard to have a bowel movement esp. if you have constipation)
  • Uterine prolapse-uterus (you may have a feeling of pelvic pressure or pulling feeling in the groin or lower back)
  • Vaginal prolapse ( usually after a hysterectomy, the top of vagina may drop out past the vulva and remain there, or remain partially exposed causing pressure or local irritation.)
What are the treatments?

Treatment of pelvic support problems may involve special exercises or insertion of a special device called a pessary to improve support. When a pessary is used, it must be removed, cleaned, and reinserted on a regular basis to avoid infection. Or, it may involve a high-fiber diet or drugs to soften the stool and make bowel movements easier. Keeping your weight under control, eating right, not smoking, and avoiding activities that stress pelvic support muscles can also help. Hormones may be given to improve the quality of the tissues. It can be taken by mouth in a pill, by a skin patch, or by a vaginal cream. Sometimes a combination of these methods is used.

Many women with pelvic support problems do not need further treatment. Some bladder control problems respond best to changes in voiding habits, diet, and drugs, while others may be treated by surgery. Surgery is an elective procedure for which you give your informed consent. You are the best judge of whether symptoms are severe enough to warrant surgery.

No form of treatment, even surgery can be guaranteed to solve the problem. The chances for getting some degree of relief, however, are quite good.

  • Special exercises: exercises called Kegel exercises, or pelvic muscle exercises, are used to strengthen the muscles that surround the openings of the urethra, vagina, and rectum. You may be told to contract these muscles for about 10 seconds, 10-20 times in a row, three or more time a day. In time, your ability to hold urine may improve.
  • Diet: you may need to cut down on caffeine, which acts as a diuretic. It is found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks. A high-fiber diet may help with bowel control and to avoid constipation.
  • Medicines: sometimes a stool softener or bulk laxative may be given along with a high-fiber diet. There are special medicines that help to control urination. These drugs suppress bladder contractions. Other drugs will help prevent leakage by increasing the pressure in the urethra.