Pelvic relaxation is a weakening of the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor. This occurs as a result of pregnancy, aging, injury, or contributing conditions like abdominal tumors. See your gynecologist for proper diagnosis and treatment if you have the following symptoms.
Pelvic Relaxation Symptoms
1. Minor Urinary Incontinence
Many women notice a small loss of urine when they laugh, cough, or exercise, especially after having a baby or hysterectomy. The pelvic floor muscles can weaken over time, and sometimes specific organs are affected. If the bladder has fallen from its normal position—a condition known as cystocele—it becomes more difficult to empty the bladder completely and leaking is common. Sometimes the vagina prolapses—in a sense turning inside out and causing incontinence or urinary retention.
2. Feeling of Abdominal Heaviness
The abdomen may feel full or heavy, or you may have a sense of your uterus or rectum falling. In this case, the pelvic relaxation may be complicated by uterine prolapse, which is when the uterus descends from its normal position. This condition is most common after childbirth. Less common are rectoceles and enteroceles, when the rectum or small intestine, respectively, bulge into the walls of the vagina. In rare cases, organs may protrude outside the vagina. See your gynecologist immediately if this happens. Symptoms may occur when you are standing up, straining, or coughing and go away when you are relaxed and lying down. In some cases, sex or bowel movements can be painful.
You can perform exercises such as Kegels, which strengthen the pelvic walls and floor, and some medications may also help. Some women also benefit from bladder training, or scheduled voiding. For major pelvic relaxation issues, however, surgery is the best treatment. Your gynecologist will examine you thoroughly and make a recommendation. About 1 in 11 women with pelvic relaxation require pelvic surgery to correct the condition.
Pelvic relaxation is often minor and not uncommon. If symptoms become chronic or severe, see your gynecologist. Obstetricians & Gynecologists PC, serving Central Nebraska have doctors on staff to meet all of your women’s health needs, including pregnancy, incontinence, infertility, and counseling services. Go to their website to learn more about their services or call 800-742-3305 to make an appointment.