The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the organs in your pelvis like a sling — for women, these organs include the bladder, uterus and rectum. Pelvic floor disorders occur when you’re unable to control these muscles.

Overview and Symptoms

The three main types of pelvic floor disorders are:


There are many symptoms that can indicate a pelvic floor disorder. Women with any one of these symptoms should consider speaking to a pelvic health specialist:

  • leakage of urine
  • frequent urination
  • waking up two or more times at night to empty the bladder
  • difficulty passing urine
  • presence of a bulge or pressure in the vagina
  • difficulty emptying the bowels
  • the need to press with the fingers near the vagina or rectum to complete a bowel movement
  • leakage of fecal material or gas


Pelvic floor dysfunction is often successfully treated without surgery using medication, relaxation techniques and, most commonly, biofeedback.

Surgery is typically required in the case of a rectal prolapse (when the tissue that lines the rectum falls down into the anal opening) or rectocele (when the end of the rectum pushes through the wall of the vagina).

Learn More

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BIDMC provides outstanding care for all women throughout their lives, in a friendly, comfortable and safe environment.

Obstetrics and Gynecology