The 411 on PFDs

Pelvic Floor ExerciseStatistics show one in three women will have a pelvic floor disorder, yet talking about it is taboo. Because PFDs are highly personal, many women suffer in silence. A new Meritas Health clinic just for women with PFDs is encouraging them to speak up.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is in the lowest part of the pelvis. It actually looks more like a bowl, and it’s made up of muscles and connective tissue. The pelvic floor keeps the bowels, bladder, uterus, and cervix in, and let babies and body fluids out. Pelvic floor disorders happen when those muscles weaken or the tissue tears.

The most common pelvic floor disorders include:

Common Causes

Any of the below can weaken pelvic muscles and cause a PFD.

  • Age
  • Chronic constipation
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Genetics
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Pelvic injury or surgery
  • Pregnancy/Childbirth
  • Smoking

Common Symptoms

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have:

  • Constant pain in your pelvic region, genitals or rectum
  • Constipation or pain with bowel movements
  • The feeling you need to have several bowel movements in a short period of time
  • The feeling you can’t complete a bowel movement
  • A frequent need to pee and/or painful urination
  • Painful intercourse
  • Unexplained lower back pain

If your doctor suspects you have a PFD, visiting with a urogynecologist may be the next step.

Help – and Hope – are Here

Specialized Care

Schedule an appointment.

Get the specialized care you need with Dr. Rosbrugh.

Pelvic floor disorders may be common, but they certainly aren’t normal. “These issues have a huge effect on women’s lives,” said Ian M. Rosbrugh, MD, the Northland’s only full-time urogynecologist. “Many don’t like talking about it, so they bear it in secret.” Dr. Rosbrugh recognized a need for specialized PFD treatment in the Northland and opened the Pelvic Health and Reconstructive Surgery Clinic at Meritas Health Pavilion for Women. The clinic focuses exclusively on diagnosing and treating pelvic floor disorders.

Dr. Rosbrugh tailors treatment to each woman’s specific condition, providing both non-surgical and surgical treatment options that can significantly improve incontinence and sexual function.

“Everything we deal with significantly impacts sexual function,” Dr. Rosbrugh said. “Many women with prolapse have stopped having intercourse because they don’t feel attractive and don’t want to inadvertently hurt themselves. If we can fix their prolapse, if we can fix their incontinence, and if we can deal with their pelvic pain, generally they see drastic differences in their sexual function.”

Related reading

Conquering Incontinence
Pelvic Floor Fact Sheet
Making Progress: From Hushed Conversations to Advanced Treatment Options
Voices for PFD (American Urogynecologic Society)