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Pelvic Support Problems

Also called: Cystocele, Enterocele, Pelvic prolapse, Rectocele

Summary

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and other tissues that form a sling or hammock across the pelvis. In women, it holds the uterus, bladder, bowel, and other pelvic organs in place so that they can work properly. The pelvic floor can become weak or be injured. The main causes are pregnancy and childbirth. Other causes include being overweight, radiation treatment, surgery, and getting older.

Common symptoms include

  • Feeling heaviness, fullness, pulling, or aching in the vagina. It gets worse by the end of the day or during a bowel movement.
  • Seeing or feeling a "bulge" or "something coming out" of the vagina
  • Having a hard time starting to urinate or emptying the bladder completely
  • Having frequent urinary tract infections
  • Leaking urine when you cough, laugh, or exercise
  • Feeling an urgent or frequent need to urinate
  • Feeling pain while urinating
  • Leaking stool or having a hard time controlling gas
  • Being constipated
  • Having a hard time making it to the bathroom in time

Your health care provider diagnoses the problem with a physical exam, a pelvic exam, or special tests. Treatments include special pelvic muscle exercises called Kegel exercises. A mechanical support device called a pessary helps some women. Surgery and medicines are other treatments.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
  • (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons)
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (American Urogynecologic Society)
  • (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)
  • Video (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Urogynecologic Society)

Treatments and Therapies

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • (American Urogynecologic Society)

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons)
  • (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Carolina Urology Partners, Charlotte, NC, 7/01/2014

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

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