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Pelvic floor disorder rising in women with more than one child – study


Johannesburg – Studies have shown that at least 20% of all women experience some sort of pelvic floor disorder with this figure rising to 50% in those who have had more than one child.

According to Dr Preena Sivsankar from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, many women in developing countries do not disclose this condition due to stigma or lack of health services yet research shows pelvic floor disorders impact negatively on women’s self-esteem, relationships with their partners and their ability to work.

However, the condition can often be effectively treated, she said.

Pelvic floor disorders are caused by damage to pelvic muscles either during childbirth, through heavy lifting, from obesity or after a hysterectomy. The pelvic floor refers to the muscles around the bowel, bladder and uterus in women and the bowel and bladder in men.

“Pelvic floor dysfunction varies in severity and symptoms include pain during sex, pain in the pelvic area, leaking of urine or faeces, difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel as well as a dragging sensation or “bulge” in the rectum or vagina, Sivsankar said.

A study in Ethiopia and research in the US found that at least one in five women suffer from pelvic floor disorder, Sivsankar said.

In Australia it’s estimated that at least half of women who have had more than one child have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic organs slipping from the normal position, she added.

“SA trends are believed to be similar to those recorded internationally,” she said.

Dr Sivsankar said The Urology Hospital had a dedicated Pelvic Wellness Clinic where specialists in urology, urogynaecology and colorectal surgery diagnose and treat pelvic floor disorders through a host of surgical and non-surgical options.

-The Star


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