Pelvic floor dysfunction is a general term used to refer to weakened or damaged muscles, ligaments and/or nerves in the abdomen. Although both men and women may be affected, women are particularly vulnerable to pelvic floor disorders. Pelvic floor disorders can have a significant impact on the quality of a person's life. Fortunately, these disorders can be successfully treated with the latest therapies and cutting-edge treatments offered at Penn Medicine.
Common Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Pain in the pelvis, hip, abdomen, thigh or lower back
- Overactive bladder
Penn Medicine Programs that Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Penn Medicine's specialized programs and treatment options offer a sense of hope through individualized care, allowing patients to regain their function and confidence. Diagnostic and treatment options may include changing patient behavior, strengthening pelvic floor muscles through physical therapy, biofeedback, and reconstructive surgery. Programs that treat pelvic floor dysfunction at Penn include:
The Women's Health and Rehabilitation Program
The Women's Health and Rehabilitation Program at Penn focuses on the treatment and prevention of the unique musculoskeletal concerns commonly found in pregnant and post-partum women. Special emphasis is placed on the diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction in women, which relates to the function of a group of muscles located deep in the pelvis. These muscles are a part of our core muscles, and help to support our trunk, assist with bowel and bladder control, and are important for intimacy. The program treats the following musculoskeletal concerns in women:
- Low back pain
- Pelvic girdle pain (including sacroiliac dysfunction, pubic symphysis pain, pubic symphysis separation and osteitis pubis)
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
In collaboration with our Women's Health Physical Therapists, an emphasis is placed on maximizing comfort and function during and after pregnancy and preventing injury during childcare and in future pregnancies.
The Women's Sports Medicine Program
The Women's Sports Medicine Program provides specialized care to meet the unique needs of the adolescent and adult female athletes. Focus is placed on the diagnosis and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and concerns that are more common amongst female athletes. These injuries include:
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Musculoskeletal issues unique to the pregnant and post-partum athlete
- Stress fractures
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner's knee)
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
A multi-disciplinary approach to the female athlete triad (nutritional deficiency, menstrual dysfunction and low bone density) provides comprehensive care to affected athletes. All other sports injuries are also addressed in a female focused environment, accounting for the unique differences in anatomy and injury patterns between men and women. The goal of the Women's Sports Medicine Program is to provide exceptional care to active teenagers and women, and promote healthy participation in physical activities at recreational and competitive levels across the lifespan.