The Year of the Pelvis: Women, Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), and Pelvic Prolapse
A family member called me this week regarding a friend who was having a painful pressure sensation in her pelvic area. After testing negative for a urinary tract infection, her doctor recommended a specialist who wasn’t able to see her for a number of weeks. As she was brought to tears by the intense pain, I recommended some other doctors in her area who she might be able to see sooner, and sure enough they got her in the very same day. The ultimate diagnosis: pelvic organ prolapse - and apparently a pretty severe case.
Pelvic prolapse is when the bladder and/or uterus (or even the bowel) “drop” - that is, the hammock of muscles making up your pelvic floor become weak and start to sag a bit, and the organs that they are supposed to be holding in place (the bladder, uterus, and bowel) sag with them. So now, this young mother with several small children is in need of surgery.
While I’m happy to hear how relieved this woman is to have received some help, I’m still astounded at the number of women who have no idea what their pelvic floor is or how to care for it. Please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think this is in any way the fault of these millions of women , and frankly if this were not my field of work, I wouldn’t know most of this either - and neither would my mother, cousins, aunts, grandmothers, and girlfriends.
Ladies, it is time for a revolution: a pelvic revolution It’s time for us to take over the reigns and responsibility by educating ourselves and our loved ones about incontinence and the multitude of pelvic floor disorders that affect the lives of millions of women every day. Our pelvic floors unite us all - young and old of every race across the globe. Educating ourselves and our friends and family about how to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles and the common disorders to be on the lookout for can be a big step towards empowering women everywhere to lead healthy and fulfilled lives!
I urge you, ladies, to join me in this revolution. Start today by sending an email to the women you know, asking them to look at this article and take control of their pelvic floor! Spend a short fifteen minutes researching the pelvic floor online and becoming a little further educated. Make one of your new year’s resolutions to do daily pelvic floor exercises, which some research has shown to be effective in preventing incontinence, and there hasn’t been any research to show that these exercises do any harm. Join me, women, and together let’s make 2008 the “Year of the Pelvis” for women everywhere (and I’m not talking about Elvis)!
PS: And because I like to cover all my bases, I just want to state, as I have in the past, that men also have a pelvic floor that can benefit from pelvic floor exercises!
Jasmine wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Incontinence.