Senior consultant Dr Mark Wong, Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) shares symptoms and treatment options for pelvic floor disorder.
Occurring more commonly in women, pelvic floor disorders are often overlooked or inadequately managed. Learn more about these potentially debilitating conditions and what you can do about them.
Pelvic floor disorders comprise a myriad of conditions arising from weakness of the muscles of the pelvic floor. They can present with troubling symptoms including faecal incontinence, constipation, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (i.e. womb, bladder, rectal).
Embarrassment and fear of stigmatisation lead many affected individuals to suffer in silence, particularly when symptoms include incontinence. In addition, a lack of public awareness regarding the available treatment options only reinforces the misinformed notion that these conditions are simply part of the ageing process. Patients are subsequently caught in a vicious cycle marked with unnecessary distress and a poor quality of life.
How can pelvic floor disorders be treated?
Management can be complex as patients often present with a combination of symptoms. Herein lies the importance of a dedicated specialty service like the
Pelvic Floor Disorders Service at
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), which offers the combined expertise of a multidisciplinary team of specialists.
Fortunately, the majority of patients will benefit from conservative measures such as dietary modification, tailored medical therapy and pelvic floor rehabilitation. However, when these measures fail, surgery is often the only recourse to improve symptoms and quality of life.
The services offered by SGH’s multidisciplinary team of experts include:
- A one-stop facility eliminating the need for multiple referrals
- Comprehensive investigations
- Individualised treatment planning
- Behavioural training and patient counselling
- Advanced surgical therapy
Could you have a pelvic floor disorder?
Here are some questions offering insight into the kinds of conditions managed by the Pelvic Floor Disorder Service at SGH. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may have a pelvic floor disorder.
- Do you worry about having bowel accidents?
- Do you strain or have difficulty with defecation?
- Do you routinely survey the location of the nearest bathrooms because you need to use them a lot more frequently?
- Do you experience ‘leaks’ or have difficulty controlling your urge to urinate?
- Do you need to use pads other than for menstrual periods?
- Do you have discomfort or a sense of heaviness / pressure in the pelvic area?
- Do you feel that some of your organs, such as your vagina, uterus or rectum, have shifted or become noticeable to you?
How can you find out more about pelvic floor disorders?
Although pelvic floor disorders are rarely life-threatening, they can nonetheless rob patients of their dignity and self-confidence. The SGH Pelvic Floor Disorders Service is here to help affected individuals ‘stay in control’ and improve their quality of life.
About the Pelvic Floor Disorder Service (PFDS) at SGH
The SGH PFDS is a joint initiative by the Departments of Colorectal Surgery, Urology and Obstetrics & Gynaecology. It was established in 2008 to provide integrated and holistic care to patients with pelvic floor disorders.