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Vaginal Relaxation

In the United States, 30 million women experience symptoms of stress incontinence and vaginal relaxation. These women might not be able to control their urine flow during certain activities, or they might see a change in their bowel movement. These symptoms might come from a typical group of problems that arise due to aging, childbirth, or both. These problems are called pelvic relaxation. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described throughout this section, please call us at 303-322-0550 or send us an e-mail. It is not necessary to suffer from pelvic relaxation. Our goal is to familiarize the patient with the different kinds of pelvic relation and their treatment, causes, and symptoms. The rectum, uterus, vagina, and bladder are the pelvic organs, which are supported by muscles, ligaments, and tissues (fascia). If this support system is damaged, the pelvic organs might sag and even bulge in the vagina. This occurrence in the pelvic organs is referred to as defects in pelvic support. 

In vaginal childbirth, when a baby exits, the muscles, ligaments, and fascia within the birth canal may weaken. This weakness becomes worse throughout the years and could lead to pelvic organs descending from their regular positions. 

This weakness in the tissue and muscles might also happen in women who have never been pregnant. For these women, the weakening might arise due to an inheritance of weak tissue, overexertion of the tissues due to a chronic cough, pressure increase in the abdomen, or being overweight. 

What pelvic relaxation symptoms a person experiences is due to the organ that is affected. A heavy or full feeling or urine leakage, especially during activities like running, walking, laughing, or coughing, could be felt. In advanced cases, there might be a protrusion from the opening of the vagina, although this is rare. 

Defects in pelvic support are defined by the organ they affect. These defects are: urethrocele, cystocele, rectocele, uterine prolapse, and enterocele. Urethrocele and cystocele commonly occur together. 

In a cystocele, the bladder descends, and it can usually become difficult to empty the bladder, which can cause bladder infections. In larger cystoceles, the bladder overfills and urine leakage is present. This urine loss happens most frequently during activities like walking or coughing. A urethrocele typically arises when a cystocele is present. Both conditions lead to unwanted urine loss, especially with abdomen pressure during walking, coughing, jumping, laughing, or sneezing. 

In a rectocele, the rectum protrudes in the vagina, and it usually happens because of childbirth injuries. If the rectum is weak or protruding, passing a stool becomes difficult. An enterocele is the protrusion of the small intestine against the back vaginal wall. A uterine prolapse is when the uterus descends from its place. The severity of this descent varies, creating a feeling of fullness or heaviness and a feeling that the uterus could fall out. 

To reach a diagnosis for these conditions, it is necessary to do a review of a patient’s medical history and a physical exam. Other tests include urodynamic studies, which is a 20-minute computerized study of the urethra and bladder functions, Q-tip tests, X-rays, and an urethrocystoscopy, which is an instrument that evaluated the urethra and bladder from the inside. 

Please visit the website Aguirre Specialty Care (http://www.bladdersolution.com) for complete information relating to vaginal relaxation. 

In most cases, surgical treatment will correct these defects.



     
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OSCAR A. AGUIRRE, MD, FACOG

Dr. Aguirre
Dr. Aguirre is the Director of Aguirre Specialty Care, The Center for Female Pelvic Medicine. Dr. Aguirre is also a member of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of America.
The Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of America is founded and directed by Dr. David L. Matlock.

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