A pelvic floor disorder (PFD) occurs when the muscles and connective tissues of the pelvic area weaken or are injured. The most common of these disorders are pelvic organ prolapse—when pelvic organs fall into the vagina—and problems with bladder or bowel control. PFDs are most common among older women. The NICHD supports and conducts research on PFDs. For example, NICHD-supported scientists are seeking to clarify the roles of pregnancy and childbirth in PFDs in order to identify prevention strategies, such as modifying obstetrical practices. NICHD-supported studies also evaluate therapies for PFDs and fine-tune ways to measure treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.
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