Pelvic Relaxation

By Dr. Joseph Berenholz

Pelvic relaxation is a condition that takes place when muscles along the pelvic floor become weak or damaged. The result is that the pelvic floor and organs supported by it sag into the vagina. These muscles can become weak due to childbirth, aging, or other factors. Dr. Berenholz has years of experience diagnosing and treating this and related conditions. While this condition is not generally considered life threatening, it can cause women to experience pain and discomfort until corrected. The position of several organs in the pelvic region can be affected.

Uterus

A uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus is no longer sufficiently supported by the pelvic wall. This causes the uterus to sag into the vagina. This condition can range in severity from mild to severe. In mild cases, the sagging may be so slight that women are unaware it has taken place, and the condition is diagnosed only after a routine examination or an exam for a separate issue. In severe cases, the sagging may cause protrusions into the vaginal wall which is visible through the vaginal opening.

Bladder

A cyctocele occurs when the wall between the bladder and vagina is damaged. As a result, the bladder can fall towards the vagina and create a bulge along the vaginal wall. This can bring about pain and discomfort, as well as difficulty emptying the bladder during urination. This condition can be caused by straining muscles in the pelvic region. It can happen during childbirth, as well as activities that require heavy lifting or even straining related to constipation. This issue can also arise during menopause when estrogen levels are low, as estrogen is a hormone that fortifies pelvic muscles.

When the bladder drops from its normal position, this can result in urine leakage and incomplete emptying of the bladder. For some women, urinary incontinence can occur even from slight pressure on the bladder after coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Besides the physical effects, this condition can cause women embarrassment and frustration.

Rectum

A rectocele results when the end of the large bowel, or rectum, bulges into the vagina. This happens when the fascia, the wall separating the rectum from the vagina, is weakened or damaged. Childbirth and other processes that put pressure on the fa scia can cause this condition. Also, it tends to occur during menopause when estrogen is low, as estrogen keeps pelvic muscles strong. While the bulge that forms from this condition can be uncomfortable it is generally not painful. Correcting some cases may require surgery.