What Is a Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that help support the pelvic organs, including the bladder and bowel, and, in women, the uterus and vagina. The pelvic floor helps to support and keep the pelvic organs in place.
Graphic: Medical illustration of the pelvic floor including the bladder, uterus, pelvic floor muscles, and rectum.
Graphic: Venus symbol, a circle with a cross attached to it, which represents the female sex/gender.
What Is a Pelvic Floor Disorder?
A pelvic floor disorder is a condition which muscles or connective tissues of the pelvic floor weaken or are injured, causing discomfort and other problems. Everyone has a pelvic floor, but the term “pelvic floor disorder” usually refers to problems in women.
One in three U.S. women is estimated to have symptoms of one or more pelvic floor disorders.
Graphic: Three generic figures meant to represent a total population of women. One is highlighted, representing the statistic of one out of three women.
What Are Common Pelvic Floor Disorders?
Graphic: A medical cross.
Graphic: Illustration of the bladder.
Bladder control problems, such as leaking of urine or feeling like you have to urinate too often or urgently.
Graphic: Illustration of the bowel.
Bowel control problems, such as leaking of stool with or without awareness.
Graphic: Illustration of pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse—when muscles are weakened, pelvic organs may bulge into the vagina or stick out beyond the opening of the vagina or anus.
Graphic: A clipboard with a medical cross on it and a circle around it.
Even though many women with these disorders are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, treatments for pelvic floor disorders are available.
Talk to your health care provider if you notice changes in your bladder or bowel control, or if you see or feel a bulge of tissue in your vagina or anus.
Learn more about pelvic floor disorders on the NICHD website: https://nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pelvicfloor.
Graphic: Logo of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Graphic: Logo of the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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