Aventura Hospital and Medical Center offers a variety of women’s services. Our dedicated specialists utilize the latest procedures, treatments and techniques to address a comprehensive range of women’s health needs.
- Breast Health (Digital Mammography, Breast MRI, Biopsies, Stereotactics, and Reconstruction)
- Bone Density Screenings
- Cardiac Care
- Colo-Rectal Health
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Minimally Invasive Surgery using the da Vinci Robot
- Pelvic Health (Urology, Incontinence, Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction)
- Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. Our physicians offer the latest surgical treatment options using minimally invasive and robotic techniques.
What Causes Pelvic Floor Disorders?
The pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue may have stretched, weakened or torn. These changes may be caused by:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Chronic cough (such as with bronchitis)
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight
If the pelvic floor is weak, your bladder and other pelvic organs may sag out of place. Our experts can evaluate your issues, and if surgery is required, often address them in one surgery.
What is a Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is the collective term that refers to the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves of the lower abdomen, which normally support the uterus, bladder, rectum and other organs in the pelvis. They play an important role in making the organs function properly as well as keeping them in their proper place. They are responsible for controlling continence and signaling the bladder, rectum and colon when it’s time to use the restroom.
For many women, the pelvic floor does not function as well as it should. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, almost one-quarter of women face pelvic floor disorders.
What are pelvic floor disorders?
- Urge Incontinence—A sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. Urge incontinence is also referred to as “overactive bladder.” It can be caused by an infection, a neurologic disorder or diabetes.
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)—urine leaks out of the bladder when physical movement or activities, such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting-puts stress pressure (stress) on your bladder.Urinary Incontinence-the inability to control the release of urine. You may leak urine or you may not be able to hold urine until you can get to the bathroom.Pelvic floor disorders occur when the “sling” or “hammock” that supports the pelvic organs becomes weakened or damaged. Some of the most common pelvic floor disorders are:
Overflow Incontinence—With overflow incontinence, the bladder doesn’t empty when it should. You experience frequent dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn’t completely empty.Patients may experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.
- Fecal Incontinence—The loss of control over the bowels. Fecal incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. The muscle or nerve damage can be associated with aging or giving birth.
Pelvic Prolapse—The uterus is held in position by pelvic muscles, ligaments and other tissues. If the uterus drops out of its normal position, this is called prolapse.
Prolapse is defined as a body part falling or slipping out of position. Prolapse happens when the pelvic muscles and connective tissue weaken. The uterus can slip to the extent that it drops partially into the vagina and creates a noticeable lump or bulge. This is called incomplete prolapse. Complete prolapse occurs when the uterus slips to such a degree that some uterine tissue is outside the vagina.Pelvic prolapse may also involve sagging or slipping of other pelvic organs, including the bladder, the urethra which is the tube next to the vagina that allows urine to leave your body, and rectum.
- Pelvic Pain—Pain located between the belly button and hips. It can be dull or sharp, constant or off and on. If it lasts for six months or more, it is called chronic pelvic pain. It is often difficult to figure out what is the source of the pain. Women with chronic pelvic pain can benefit from a full evaluation of the pelvic floor.
- Female Sexual Dysfunction—Recurrent problems during any phase of the sexual response cycle (excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution) that causes distress or negatively affects your relationship with your partner. Problems like pain during intercourse and vaginal dryness are often related to pelvic floor disorders.
What treatments are available for Pelvic Floor Disorders?
- Lifestyle Changes—Listed below are common treatments for pelvic floor disorders.
- Quitting smoking—Smoking can lead to a chronic cough that strains pelvic floor muscles. Smoking can also damage the bladder and urethra.
- Losing Weight—Excess weight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
- Medication is mainly given for urge incontinence, but it may also help with stress incontinence. Your doctor will talk with you about your options. Make sure to go over any side effects.
- Physical Therapy—Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Doing Kegal exercises on a regular basis may provide you with the following benefits:
- Stronger pelvic muscles
- Reduced urinary incontinence
- Increased pleasure with sexual activity
- Surgery—There are several surgical procedures for the various types of incontinence. These procedures are reserved for people who have tried conservative treatments without success and are healthy enough to undergo surgery.