The pelvic floor is a crucial part of our bodies, serving various essential functions. In women, factors like aging and pregnancy can lead to the weakening of the muscles and fascia that make up the pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Muscles and Their Functions
- Located in the perineum, between the vagina and anus, the pelvic floor plays multiple critical roles:
- Maintaining the correct position of pelvic organs, such as the uterus, bladder, and urethra.
- Facilitating proper urination and defecation, satisfying sexual function, and aiding in childbirth.
With age and due to pregnancies, these muscles and fascia can lose their strength, resulting in difficulties in supporting perineal organs and maintaining continence. Consequences may include:
- Urine leakage.
- Challenges in retaining gas, feces, and urine.
- Abdominal pain and tension, particularly affecting a woman’s sex life during and after menopause.
- Sagging (prolapse) of the uterus, bladder, or rectum.
Pelvic Floor Disorders: Pain, Incontinence, and Prolapse
Pregnancy, especially during childbirth, can often lead to trauma in the pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, factors like menopause, aging, or surgical procedures can cause a loss of muscle tone. These issues can result in various disorders, including:
- Excessive muscle relaxation leads to genital prolapse.
- Difficulty in controlling urine, with symptoms like urinary urgency and stress urinary incontinence.
- Rectal prolapse.
- Hemorrhoidal prolapse accompanied by constipation and obstructed defecation.
- Fecal incontinence, marked by urgency in bowel movements and gas or stool leakage.
Pelvic Floor Disorders in Pregnancy
It is crucial not to underestimate symptoms and disorders related to pelvic floor dysfunction, even at a young age, particularly after pregnancy. Such problems may surface years after childbirth, especially following a challenging delivery. Initiating perineal rehabilitation early, even before symptoms manifest, can be highly beneficial. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles provides vital support to pelvic organs. Perineal reeducation aims to help women regain voluntary control over various striated muscles in the perineum, enhancing their function and overall quality of life.
What Is Perineal Reeducation
Perineal reeducation comprises various rehabilitative techniques to rectify dysfunctions in pelvic, urinary, digestive, and sexual organs. It also aims to reduce the occurrence of perineal pathologies that may require surgical intervention. Perineal reeducation is typically recommended when pelvic floor elasticity and tone can be restored.
Suppose you experience fecal or urinary incontinence, chronic perineal pain, or prolapse from compromised perineal muscles. In that case, you should seek a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. This may involve colorectal surgeons, urologists, gynecologists, physiatrists, and neurologists to determine the most suitable treatment plan. Non-invasive approaches, like rehabilitation, may be tried initially, with surgical options considered if rehabilitation proves ineffective.