Specialties

  • Pelvic Floor

  • Littleton Adventist Hospital offers pelvic floor therapy for women with pelvic health diagnoses. Our pelvic floor therapist, Kerri Daniels, MPT, CLT has extensive knowledge and advanced training to help women with female urinary and fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor muscle weakness, pregnancy-related pain, as well as postpartum low back and pelvic girdle pain.

    Kerri will develop a personalized treatment plan that will cater to your entire well-being and address your specific pelvic health needs. To schedule an appointment, please call 303-730-5883.

    Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) are disorders that involve the pelvic floor, layers of muscle and tissue that stretch from the tailbone to the front of the pubic bone, similar to a sling or hammock. PFDs occur in both men and women, although they are more common in women, resulting from labor and childbirth. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one in four women suffer from a PFD.

    The female pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that support the vagina, uterus and rectum. The male pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that support the bladder, rectum, bowel and other pelvic organs.

    The three main types of PFDs include urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse exclusive to women. Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment for a PFD ranges from exercises and lifestyle changes to medication and surgery.

    Common symptoms of PFDs include:

    • Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder completely
    • Chronic urinary tract infections
    • Leaking urine caused by laughing, coughing or exercise
    • Frequent urge to urinate
    • Pain during urination
    • Leaking stool or having a hard time controlling gas
    • Constipation
    • Trouble getting to the bathroom in time
    • A feeling of fullness or aching in the vagina that increases with bowel movements or by the end of the day
    • A visible "bulge" in the vagina


    Factor’s that may lead to a weakened pelvic floor include:

    • Labor and childbirth
    • Being out of shape
    • Obesity
    • Chronic constipation
    • Heavy lifting
    • Chronic cough
    • Aging
    • Surgery
    • Radiation
    • Hereditary predisposition

    The Three Most Common Pelvic Floor Disorders Examined

    Urinary incontinence: a condition in which you’re unable to control your bladder. The three main types of urinary incontinence include stress incontinence, overactive bladder/urge incontinence and mixed incontinence, featuring symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. Incontinence is more common in women and may be caused by a number of factors, including pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, nerve damage, overactive bladder muscles, or weak bladder muscles.

    Diagnosis: To diagnose urinary incontinence, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam focusing on your abdomen, genitals, pelvis, rectum, and nervous system. Your doctor may also order one or more of the following tests: a cystoscopy to view the inside of your bladder, a post void residual (PVR) to measure the amount of urine left after urination, a urine culture to look for infection, urodynamic studies to measure pressure and flow, and/or a uroflow to measure the pattern of urine.

    Treatment: Urinary incontinence can often be treated at home with bladder retraining and Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Many forms of surgery are also available if home care isn’t successful. A common minimally invasive surgery for stress incontinence is the placement of a “sling” under the urethra.

    Fecal incontinence: a condition in which you’re unable to control the muscles that help you complete a bowel movement. Fecal incontinence affects both women and men and includes the inability to hold a bowel movement until reaching a toilet. It can result from a disease or injury that damages the nervous system, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, loss of stretch in the rectum, a difficult childbirth that injures the pelvic floor, and poor overall health.

    Diagnosis: To diagnose fecal incontinence, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam focusing on your abdomen, genitals, pelvis, rectum, and nervous system. Your physician may also order one or more of the following tests: a colonoscopy to view the rectum and entire colon, an anal ultrasound to look at the structure of the anus and rectum, an anal EMG to check the health of the pelvic floor muscles, a defecography, an X-ray that shows how well you can hold and evacuate a stool, and anal manometry to check the function of the rectum.

    Treatment: Fecal incontinence may be treated with diet and nutrition, medications, such as low doses of muscle relaxants, bowel training to avoid pushing or straining, pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback, electrical stimulation and surgery designed to repair or replace sphincter muscles.

    Pelvic organ prolapse (POP): a condition in which the pelvic muscles and supporting tissues weaken, allowing the organs in the pelvis to fall out of place. (Prolapse means a slipping forward or down.) The pelvic organs include the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, and rectum. More than one organ can prolapse at the same time.

    Diagnosis: To diagnose POP, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a pelvic exam. Your doctor may also recommend a series of tests, including one or more of the following: a pelvic floor MRI to asses how the pelvic floor functions, a defecography to assess symptoms related to bowel function, multi-channel urodynamics to assess difficulty urinating, or a CT scan to rule out other medical conditions.

    Treatment: For many patients at-home exercise and therapy can be successful. The goal of exercise therapy is to help you learn to control and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Other non-surgical treatments include biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and cold laser, a method that applies low-intensity laser light to the tissue to help reduce pain and inflammation. If you experience significant pain, your doctor may recommend surgery through either the abdomen or vagina. In some women the condition can get better over time.


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