Incontinence, leakage, overactive bladder, and other pelvic floor disorders
Urinary and bowel incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders make it harder to enjoy daily activities. Contrary to popular belief, incontinence, leakage, and accidents are not a normal part of aging, however, you’re not alone.
Pelvic problems affect both men and women, but more than one in four women are likely to be affected by conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse, overactive bladder, and accidental bowel leakage.
Loss of bladder or bowel control may be embarrassing, but speaking with your provider about it shouldn’t be. Doctors trained in female pelvic health and restoration know all too well the difficulty many women experience from incontinence.
If you suspect that you may have a pelvic health disorder, it’s time to talk to a provider about ways you can find relief.
When Symptoms Change, Visit a Provider
Depending on the specific pelvic floor disorder, there can be a range of symptoms people experience.
Pelvic floor symptoms may include:
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Painful urinary or bowel movements
- A pressure in the bladder
- Frequent voiding (emptying of bladder or bowels)
It’s time to visit a provider when your symptoms start to change or increase in frequency.
There are many reasons to visit a provider for pelvic floor issues, but some of the more common signs include:
- A sudden increase in symptoms
- Sudden or chronic pelvic pain
- Discomfort in the abdominal area
- You see or feel a bulge in your vagina or rectum
- Constant constipation
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Your vaginal pessary is no longer working
- You experience painful sex
How to Prepare for Your Visit
Talking about urinary or bowel movements isn’t anything to be ashamed of; your provider is there to help you every step of the way. Before visiting your provider, there are a few things you will want to know.
Three things to help prepare you for meeting with a female pelvic health and restoration specialist:
- Prepare to discuss symptoms: Talking about your symptoms is going to help your provider better understand your pelvic issues. While it may feel awkward, your provider is there to help diagnose your symptoms and find treatments that work with your lifestyle. And don’t forget, these types of issues are very common and something your provider is used to discussing with patients.
- Know your health history: Understanding and being able to relay your complete health history provides your specialists with the detailed information they need to help you. Bring a list of current medications, relevant medical records, reports (laboratory, radiology, etc.), surgeries, and anything else you think might be applicable to your first visit. Your provider will be able to use that information to review your health and better address any specific concerns.
- Create a bladder diary: Compiling a 24-hour voiding diary helps track fluid intake, daily voiding (urination or defecation), and frequency of voiding. A provider will be able to review your symptoms from a daily, weekly, or monthly standpoint to better assess your condition.
What to Expect at Your First Visit
You might be wondering what your first visit will entail. Here’s what you can expect:
- Evaluation: Your pelvic health examination is similar to that of an annual gynecological exam. The only difference is that this exam will focus solely on pelvic health by evaluating muscle spasms and weakness.
- Diagnosis: It’s important to not self-diagnose as some symptoms may indicate more severe conditions. Your provider will be able to diagnose the type of pelvic floor disorder you’re experiencing.
- Treatment: Once you receive a diagnosis, ask for more information on ways you can manage and treat the condition. Treatment is an essential part of relieving your discomfort and pain. Some treatment options include medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Which treatment option is best for you will vary based on your specific situation, so we suggest discussing all options with your provider.
Be Open with Your Provider About Your Symptoms
While it may be somewhat uncomfortable to talk about incontinence or prolapse issues, your provider is there to help you. Consult with our experienced providers to identify your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and find your right treatment option.
Get back to living your best life and enjoying the activities you love without worrying about incontinence.
Do you still have questions about what to ask your provider regarding pelvic health? Check out our guide below!