Pelvic floor disorders like incontinence, endometriosis and organ prolapse are common conditions that affect millions of women across the world. Although many of these conditions can be treated and improved, far too many women don’t seek the treatment they need and deserve.
The sad truth is that too many women with pelvic floor disorders suffer in silence, often due to embarrassment, lack of knowledge, or believing harmful myths.
So let’s examine why women suffer in silence, and how they can get the confidence they need to be proactive about their pelvic health.
Remember how afraid you were when you first started menstruating, terrified that you’d get blood on the back of your pants for the whole school to see?
That’s how many women with pelvic floor dysfunction feel – like there’s something wrong and shameful about their bodies. They may be embarrassed that people will laugh at them (or worse) if they discover what they’re dealing with.
But the reality is that just like everyone menstruates, so too are pelvic floor disorders incredibly common. In fact, one out of four women over the age of 18 experiences episodes of leaking urine involuntarily, and current studies estimate that between 30-50% of women experience pelvic organ prolapse. 50% of women will get least one UTI in their lifetime, and endometriosis impacts over 6.5 million women in the US alone.
Of course, it may be easier said than done to do away with embarrassment, but know that you are not alone if you’re experiencing pelvic issues. And the more we can talk openly about these (very natural, very common) disorders, the less stigma they’ll have.
Lack of Knowledge
Many women don’t seek help for pelvic floor disorders simply because they don’t know they can get help. They may think that pain during sex is normal, for example, or that pelvic pain usually goes away on its own (see more myths about pelvic pain here).
Many women are also unaware of the wide range of treatment options that may be available to them, many of which are noninvasive and may focus mainly on lifestyle changes. They may suffer in silence because they are unaware that there are other options.
This is compounded by the fact that traditionally, pelvic floor disorders were perceived as low priority, and many family doctors aren’t well versed in the intricacies of many of these conditions.
That’s why we offer our readers a simple Physician Finder, so they can find qualified and compassionate pelvic floor specialists in their area.
And then there are women who resign themselves to their pelvic floor dysfunction, because they believe some harmful myths. Maybe they think that incontinence is a given for women who have given childbirth, or that problems are a given with old age.
Unfortunately, these myths can become self-fulfilling prophecies when women believe them and don’t seek out the help they need.
Suffering in silence can be detrimental to a woman’s overall well-being. Left with untreated conditions, women may feel self-conscious and unattractive, and they may start to retreat from daily activities or avoid them all together. Untreated pelvic floor disorders can also lead to preventable long-term chronic pain.
Yet when women get the treatment they need, they can often resume their activities and get back to living their life. All areas of their life can improve – physical, mental and emotional.
Like we’ve covered, there are a wide variety of treatment options available depending on your pelvic flood condition. These include both surgical and nonsurgical options.
So stop suffering in silence. You deserve help, and it’s easier to get than you think. Check out our Physician Finder to find a pelvic floor specialist in your area today, and start your journey towards healing.