A pelvic floor disorder (PFD) is a condition in which muscles or connective tissues of the pelvic area weaken or are injured, causing discomfort and other problems.
One in five U.S. women is affected by one or more PFDs.
Most common PFDs
Urinary incontinence, which affects more than 18 million women.
Pelvic organ prolapse, which affects more than 3 million women.
Common nonsurgical options
Many PFD symptoms can be treated effectively with nonsurgical and surgical options. Most health care providers encourage women to try nonsurgical options first.
Pelvic floor muscle training—Exercises, guided by health care providers such as physical therapists or nurse practitioners, to strengthen muscles and improve symptoms related to PFDs
Oral medications to help with bladder control for urgency urinary incontinence
Injections to thicken the bladder muscle and other tissues and help control urgency urinary incontinence
Pessaries—devices inserted into the vagina to support pelvic organs and treat prolapse and stress urinary incontinence
Talk to your provider about which treatment options are right for you.
Featured PFD Treatment Studies
The NICHD's Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN) supports PFD research, including studies on treatment methods.
The ABC study compared two treatments for urgency urinary incontinence. One group of women received one Botox A® injection and daily oral placebo tablets for 6 months, while the other group received a placebo injection of saline plus daily oral medication to improve bladder muscle control (called anticholinergics).
- The study found both treatment methods to be equally effective in controlling urgency urinary incontinence.
The ROSETTA study is comparing the effectiveness of Botox A® injections versus an electrical device that stimulates nerves in the pelvis to treat severe urgency urinary incontinence. Treatment with an electrical stimulation device requires that part of the device be permanently implanted in the body.
For more information about the NICHD's PFD research, visit http://go.usa.gov/9a9z.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2013). How are pelvic floor disorders commonly treated?
- Nygaard, I., Barber, M. D., Burgio, K. L., Kenton, K., Meikle, S., Schaffer, J., & Brody, D. J. (2008). Prevalence of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300, 1311–1316. PMID: 18799443.
- Wu, J. M., Hundley, A. F., Fulton, R. G., & Myers, E. R. (2009). Forecasting the prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women: 2010 to 2050. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 114, 1278–1283. PMID: 19935030.