Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy at Yarra Medical
At Yarra Medical, we treat and manage a range of pelvic floor conditions. Make an appointment with our specialist to discuss your concerns, and read on below for more information.
Book online or call Yarra Medical at The Hive on 03 9027 6262.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles that attach to the pubic bone at the front and the tail bone at the back and form the base of your pelvis. This ‘sling’ supports the womb, bladder and bowel, and it can be weakened by childbirth, constipation, menopause, heavy lifting and being overweight.
If the muscles of the pelvic floor are weakened, this can affect bladder and bowel control and lead to incontinence and/or prolapse.
Bladder issues for women are common, and usually the result of childbirth or menopause. ‘Common’, however, should not imply that it’s normal, and if you are experiencing symptoms, make sure you book in with Yarra Medical; there are ways to treat or manage bladder leakage.
What causes bladder leakage?
Weakness in pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue is the main cause of bladder leakage. The weakness can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Childbirth, particularly if the baby is big or there is prolonged pushing
- Being overweight
- Frequent heavy lifting
- Constipation that leads to straining
- Hormonal changes as a result of menopause
- Normal ageing process causing muscle weakening
What are the signs of bladder incontinence?
- Leakage when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects.
- Leakage after going to the toilet.
- Feeling that the bladder isn’t completely empty after going to the toilet.
- Urinating with more frequency
What is a prolapse?
A prolapse occurs when the organs that the pelvic floor supports (womb, bladder and bowel) bulge into the vagina or rectum due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. They are particularly common after pregnancy and childbirth; in fact, more than 50% of women who have had a child experience some level of prolapse.
Signs and symptoms of a prolapse
Depending on where the prolapse occurs (for instance, at the front of the vagina or at the back) and the condition of the body, prolapses can affect women in different ways. Symptoms can include:
- A lump bulging out of the vagina, which can be felt when in the shower.
- Feeling heavy or a sensation of ‘dragging’ in the vagina.
- A lump in the vagina.
- Pain or reduced sensation during sex.
- A weak urine stream, or a bladder that doesn’t feel empty after going to the toilet.
- Problems emptying the bowl.
- Recurring urinary tract infections.
Risk factors for prolapse
Basically, anything that puts pressure on the pelvic floor can result in prolapse, even in women who haven’t gone through childbirth. For example:
- Giving birth to a big baby
- Forceps delivery
- Connective tissue disorders
- Heavy lifting
The pelvic floor can be responsible for bowel issues at either end of the spectrum: incontinence and constipation. Weakened muscles can make it difficult to hold on, and muscles that are too tight can make it difficult to let go. Also, a pelvic floor prolapse can create a blockage which prevents the bowel from emptying.
Sign or symptoms of bowel issues:
- Feeling a sudden urge to use the toilet
- Not making it to the toilet on time
- Staining on underwear
- Straining to empty bowels
- Feeling that you haven’t completely emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
- Passing wind unexpectedly