A Dedicated Program Serving Women in Northern Virginia at Inova Alexandria Hospital
Did you know that nearly 24 percent of American women are affected by pelvic floor disorders? These disorders, also known as urogynecologic disorders, affect women of all ages and levels of physical activity.
Because of the embarrassment associated with pelvic floor disorders, many women suffer in silence. Fortunately, Inova Alexandria Hospital’s Women's Services has solutions and enhanced treatments for you. Our dedicated team of physicians, nurses and physical therapists will help determine the most successful diagnosis and treatment options for you – so you can return to a full and active life.
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
- The muscles of the pelvic floor control the flow of urine and support the bladder, uterus and rectum – organs located within the pelvis.
- For good bladder control, all parts of your system must work together. The pelvic floor must hold up the organs, the sphincter muscles must control the flow of urine and the nerves must activate these muscles to function.
- Bladder and bowel control problems can occur when the muscles in the sphincter become weak.
- Sexual dysfunction including different types of pain, avoidance of sex, and subsequent relationship difficulties.
Common Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Episiotomy (grade 1-4)
- Abdominal surgery
- Hormonal imbalance, such as during menopause or post-menopause
- History of chronic infection
- Chronic cough or constipation
- Muscle weakness
- Stretch weakness (faulty posture)
- Pelvic injuries, including pelvic fractures or dislocations
- Increased abdominal pressure with lifting and jumping
- Improper lifting of infant or inappropriate nursing postures
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Disorders
- Loss of urine with lifting, laughing, sneezing, running, and/or jumping
- Increased frequency of urination, such as urinating more than eight times a day
- Sudden urgency to urinate, such as when you hear water
- Need to urinate often during the night
- Leaking urine during normal activities of daily living causing a need to wear protective liner/pad in clothing
- Inability to void urine and bowels/constipation
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain during sexual intercourse, exercise or other activities
- Diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles
- Pubic symphysis separation which occur often after childbirth
- Pelvic organ prolapse
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Can Help
Physical Therapy (PT) of the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles can improve pelvic floor and bladder conditions by eliminating or managing incontinence and other pelvic floor disorder symptoms, giving you the confidence to live your life again.
Inova Alexandria Hospital Pelvic Floor Program offers a comprehensive, customized approach to bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. Our goal is to provide diagnostic and therapeutic options tailored to your urogynecologic needs. Our commitment is to efficiently complete your evaluation in a comfortable and friendly environment. We keep you informed of your condition, enabling you to make educated decisions and take control of your situation. Your evaluation may include:
History and physical examination: The first office visit consists of an interview and consultation, followed by a physical and pelvic exam. Following the exam, the doctor may recommend specialized testing.
Urine examination: We will perform a urine analysis and culture to detect infection, inflammation, blood or other underlying kidney problems.
Cystoscopy: This common, in-office test enables the physician to look directly inside the bladder, through a small camera inserted through the urethra, to detect inflammation, stones or tumors.
Multi-channel urodynamics: Urodynamic testing evaluates the bladder’s function. These in-office tests are particularly useful for women with urinary incontinence or urinary frequency.
Electrodiagnostic testing (EMG) of the pelvic floor: This testing evaluates nerve function of the pelvic floor. EMG determines the pelvic floor’s muscle response to a series of small electrical impulses.
Depending on your condition, additional tests — such as anal manometry, defecography, anal ultrasound and pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be performed.
Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Conditions
There are several treatment options, both nonsurgical and surgical, for pelvic floor disorders. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and what your doctor prescribes.