The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that holds a woman’s internal organs in place. The bladder, bowel and uterus are held in the pelvic area by this supportive layer. Many things can damage these tissues. In some women these injuries cause symptoms of pelvic floor disease – such as urinary and fecal incontinence, feeling a bulge in the vagina or during sex, and difficulty emptying the bowel during a bowel movement.
In these cases, a doctor might recommend pelvic floor repair surgery. This is a surgery that repairs and tightens the muscle and connective tissue of the pelvic floor. In some cases it involves a surgical procedure that is performed through the vagina, and in others, through an incision in the abdomen. Most surgeries are done under regional (spinal) or general anesthesia using sutures that dissolve.
After surgery a physical therapist may be helpful to help strengthen the muscles. Sometimes this includes the use of a device called a biofeedback machine that monitors muscle activity and measures how hard a person is contracting their pelvic muscles. This can help a woman improve the strength of these muscles and decrease the frequency and severity of her symptoms.
Having pelvic floor repair surgery might not eliminate all your symptoms, but it should significantly reduce them. It’s important to talk to your gynecologist or urogynecologist about the best treatment options for you. The experts at Mayo Clinic are experienced in treating pelvic prolapse and other conditions related to the female reproductive system.