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Types of Pelvic Floor Disorders Women Can Experience

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One in three women will experience a pelvic health disorder in her lifetime. Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to control your pelvic floor muscles, which act as a sling to support the organs in your pelvis, including the uterus, vagina, bladder, bowel, rectum and anus. While pelvic floor dysfunction is common, people are not eager to discuss something so personal. We want women to know that they do not need to suffer alone. Pelvic health specialist Colin Goudelocke, MD, shares more on the causes of these common conditions and treatment options available to take back control of your life.

Common pelvic health conditions include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) - These infections are usually caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium that lives in the intestinal system. If E. coli are carried from the rectum to the vagina, they can enter the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) and infect the bladder. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. You may also notice your urine is cloudy, blood-tinged and has a strong smell. For 25% to 30% of women who've had UTIs, the infection returns within six months. If you experience three or more UTIs in a year or two or more infections within six months, you are likely experiencing recurrent UTIs. You will want to talk with your doctor to see if there are underlying causes.
  • Overactive bladder - People with an overactive bladder usually experience urinary frequency (the need to go often) and urgency (the feeling that going to the bathroom is difficult to postpone).
  • Urinary Incontinence - Urinary leakage that occurs with common activities such as sneezing, laughing and coughing
  • Fecal incontinence - A pelvic health condition that many may find hard to discuss with their doctor. It can range from occasionally passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. This condition can be caused by aging, vaginal childbirth, diet and other factors. While it can be embarrassing and isolating, there are solutions.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse - If the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs weaken either through stretching or tearing, the pelvic organs can move out of their normal position, causing organs to drop or herniate into the vagina. This is known as pelvic organ prolapse. It is especially common for patients who have given birth and older patients.

Ochsner's female pelvic health team is made up of experienced, board-certified physicians trained in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Our team of physicians includes urologists, urogynecologists and colorectal surgeons. We also have highly skilled and specialized pelvic health nurse practitioners, physical therapists, behavioral health specialists and urodynamics nurses. We pride ourselves on care that is both cutting edge and compassionate and offer a wide range of innovative treatment options, including neuromodulation, a technology that acts directly upon nerves and can help treat pelvic disorders and incontinence. Patients also have access to clinical trials, which aim to offer tomorrow's treatments today.

Our pelvic health nurse navigators will serve as a patient liaisons to help patients and family members navigate the healthcare system. The nurse navigators will help schedule tests, procedures, appointments and treatments.

To make an appointment, call 504-703-9601 or email, and a pelvic health nurse navigator will help guide you.

Learn more about Female Pelvic Health at Ochsner.  To make an appointment, call 504-703-9601 or email Our Pelvic Health Nurse Navigator will help guide you.

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