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Pelvic Floor Disorders

If you have incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or other pelvic floor problems, these conditions are often embarrassing to talk about. 

At the Women & Infants Center, our urogynecologists (doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery) offer compassionate care for a wide range of pelvic floor disorders. With years of advanced training, they can pinpoint the problem and talk with you about available options to relieve your symptoms.

What Is a Pelvic Floor Disorder?

A pelvic floor disorder is the result of damaged or weakened muscles and ligaments in the pelvis. When muscles and connective tissue that support organs in the pelvis are weakened or damaged, those organs can shift out of place. Pelvic floor disorders can affect organs including the: 

  • Bladder
  • Bowel
  • Urethra
  • Uterus
  • Vagina

Pelvic floor disorders are common—more than one-third of women in the U.S. have a pelvic floor disorder. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have one:

  • Do you experience accidental loss of urine or stool? 
  • Do you sometimes feel or see tissue bulging from your vagina? 
  • Have you had past surgery using vaginal mesh? 
  • Are you experiencing pelvic pain after pregnancy or childbirth? 

Types of Pelvic Floor Disorders

Our board-certified urogynecologists diagnose and treat both common and complex pelvic floor disorders. The disorders we most often treat include:

Urinary incontinence

If you have a pelvic floor disorder, you may experience a lack of bladder control resulting in urine leakage. You may feel a sudden urge to urinate but not have enough time to get to a restroom. Or you may find certain body movements, like coughing and sneezing, cause urine to leak. 

The causes and treatments of urinary incontinence vary. With advanced diagnostic testing, our experienced specialists can determine the type and cause of your urinary incontinence. We have the expertise to provide several treatment options to help you regain bladder control.

Pelvic organ prolapse

If your pelvic muscles and tissue become damaged or too weak to support internal organs, one or more may descend and press against the vaginal opening. With uterine prolapse and other types of prolapse, tissue may appear through the vaginal opening. 

Our highly trained urogynecologists provide the full range of treatments for pelvic organ prolapse. Nonsurgical approaches include pessary fittings (a device inserted into the vagina to support the uterus) and physical therapy. We also offer surgery, including minimally invasive procedures, to help relieve your symptoms and restore function.  

Fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements. To help you regain bowel control, our doctors work with multiple specialists to tailor a treatment that will be most effective for you. The team may include: 

  • Pelvic floor physical therapists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Colorectal surgeons

Pelvic Floor Treatments

Our urogynecologists provide the latest care and treatments available. Our doctors are experts in transvaginal surgery and minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopic and robotic procedures. We also work with other specialists to coordinate your care.

After we confirm a diagnosis of a pelvic floor disorder, we work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your needs and goals. Depending on your individual case, your treatment options may include:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Behavioral modifications
  • Nonsurgical treatments
  • Advanced and noninvasive surgeries

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a Washington University urogynecologist at the Women & Infants Center, call 855.925.0631.