Comprehensive, nonsurgical treatment improves pelvic floor dysfunction in women

January 10, 2014

One in three women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), a range of symptoms which include bladder and bowel problems as well as pelvic pain, according to the American Urogynecologic Society. Now, University of Missouri researchers have demonstrated that a comprehensive, nonsurgical treatment significantly improves symptoms in women with PFD.

"Pelvic floor rehabilitation is effective in helping women overcome pelvic floor problems with little or no medication," said Julie Starr, a doctoral student in the Sinclair School of Nursing and a family nurse practitioner at the University of Missouri Women's Health Center. "The treatment involves muscle strengthening for improved bladder control and muscle relaxation for those with of constipation and pelvic pain."

Starr and other MU researchers analyzed data from nearly 800 women with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction who underwent therapy for bowel, urinary or pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction. The researchers found patients who completed at least five comprehensive pelvic floor rehabilitation therapy sessions reported an average of 80 percent improvement in three main areas: urinary incontinence, defecatory dysfunction and pelvic pain.

"We attribute the success of our program to patients' regular contact with health care providers who provide biofeedback and vaginal electrogalvanic (e-stim) therapy as well as advice on behavior modification," Starr said. "The e-stim therapy, a painless treatment in which a stimulator is used to send electrical pulses to relax pelvic muscles, improves symptoms of bladder and bowel incontinence as well as pelvic pain and pain with intercourse. We rarely prescribe medications for these complaints; in fact, many women are able to stop taking their medications for and pain after therapy."

Starr says women of any age with bladder, bowel or pelvic pain symptoms could benefit from pelvic floor rehabilitation, as could women who experience tearing after vaginal deliveries.

"Most women are embarrassed to talk about these types of problems, or they don't think there is anything anyone can do to help them," Starr said. "Some women have been to multiple providers without relief of their symptoms, so they become discouraged and give up. A who provides pelvic floor therapy will focus on decreasing all of the patients' unpleasant pelvic symptoms instead of referring them to multiple providers."

Many are offered medication to treat their symptoms and are not aware that alternative treatment methods exist for their , Starr said.

"Non-operative management of pelvic floor dysfunction is a safe and effective way to overcome many pelvic floor complaints," Starr said. "Medication and surgical management are options that always will be available if rehabilitation does not provide the desired relief."

Explore further: Knowledge about incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse lower among women of color

More information: "Outcomes of a Comprehensive Nonsurgical Approach to Pelvic Floor Regabilitation for Urinary Symptoms, Defecatory Dysfunction, and Pelvic Pain," was published in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery.

Related Stories

Women's pelvic pain often goes underreported, untreated

November 8, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Although many women experience pelvic pain in their late teens and early 20s, a new University of Florida Health study indicates that only a small fraction of these women report their symptoms to their ...

Recommended for you

Scientists 3-D print human of the future

December 29, 2016

Interactive 3-D models of human joints, showing how common medical complaints have arisen and how we are likely to evolve in the future, have been created at Oxford University.

An eye on young specialists' success

December 5, 2016

Graduates from several medical and surgical specialties are having difficulty securing practice opportunities, especially in specialties dependent upon limited resources, according to new research from Queen's ophthalmologist ...

'Halo' effect common after lasik eye surgery

December 3, 2016

(HealthDay)—Nine out of 10 Lasik laser eye surgery patients report satisfaction afterwards. But a sizable percentage experience new visual disturbances—like seeing halos around lights—up to six months after the procedure, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.