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Menopause: A Risk Factor for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Menopause is a risk for pelvic floor healthShould I be concerned about pelvic floor dysfunction during menopause?


The combination of age and menopause can cause changes to your pelvic floor. It may weaken, lose its elasticity, and even sag a bit.

In general, your pelvic floor becomes a bit – or more – unhealthy. You might not be able to see the changes – at least not at first, but in time they'll make themselves known.

Over time, your symptoms may also worsen. You may even find that you develop pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

Pelvic Floor


Your pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissues. They span the bottom of your pelvis and work together to form a sling that supports your bladder, rectum, uterus, and vagina.

A strong pelvic floor lets you control your bladder and bowels, giving you the time you need to make it to the restroom without an accident. A healthy pelvic floor also helps with intimacy by aiding in sexual pleasure and response.

You can help your pelvic floor stay healthy by not smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a diet high in protein, fruits, and vegetables. Estrogen is also important for a healthy and strong pelvic floor.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD)


If your pelvic floor becomes weak, you may lose control of your pelvic floor muscles and develop pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Common causes of a weakened pelvic floor are childbirth, obesity, chronic constipation, musculoskeletal problems, and some health conditions.

Your vaginal and pelvic tissues rely on estrogen for strength and elasticity, so menopause is also a risk factor for PFD.

Symptoms of PFD


If you develop PFD, you’ll notice a number of different symptoms, many of them embarrassing. For example, laughing, coughing, sneezing, and exercising can cause your bladder to leak. You may even leak for no reason at all. No matter how fast you race for the restroom, you might not make it. You may even be unable to avoid passing gas in public.

There can be changes to your vagina, too. You may notice a bulge or ache inside. It can also feel uncomfortable and heavy. During intercourse, you may have a lack of sensation or it may be painful.

Treatment of PFD


Kegel exercises, pelvic floor physical therapy, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are some of the treatment options for PFD. It’s also wise to avoid smoking, heavy lifting, and constipation. The earlier you begin treatment, the better. Putting off treatment can cause symptoms to worsen and you may develop pelvic organ prolapse.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-07-2016 - 04:06 PM


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