The muscles that support the pelvic organs and rectum can weaken over time. When this occurs, you can suddenly face difficult and embarrassing pelvic floor disorders such as a prolapsed rectum, constipation, and fecal incontinence. Marsha Harris, MD, FACS, FASCRS at Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, specializes in pelvic floor disorders, offering comprehensive care that restores normal function. If you need to schedule an appointment, call the office in New York City or book online today.
The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles that support the bladder, rectum, uterus, vagina, and prostate. The muscles that control urination and bowel movements are also part of the pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor disorders occur when one or more of the muscles become weak or damaged, causing problems such as:
The bladder, rectum, and uterus can prolapse or fall out of their normal position when they lose the support of the pelvic floor.
Dr. Harris primarily treats a prolapsed rectum – a condition called a rectocele. When a rectocele occurs, the rectum pushes into the back wall of the vagina. A prolapsed rectum pushes down through the anus.
Fecal incontinence occurs when you can’t control bowel movements. As a result, stool leaks unexpectedly from your rectum.
Obstructive defecation refers to not being able to have a normal bowel movement. You may need to strain, fail to eliminate all the stool, or feel like your bowel movement is blocked.
When the pelvic floor muscles fail to relax, you develop outlet dysfunction constipation.
The most common symptoms of pelvic floor disorders include:
You may also need to have many bowel movements during the day.
Though Dr. Harris may diagnose a condition like rectal prolapse during your physical exam, most pelvic floor disorders require diagnostic procedures such as:
This includes several tests that evaluate the function of your rectum, anus, and pelvic floor muscles. One of the tests, manometry, measures the strength of the sphincter muscles controlling your bowel movements.
Dr. Harris uses endoanal and endorectal ultrasounds to evaluate the anal sphincter, the anal canal (the area between the rectum and anus), and the rectum.
If you don’t have a prolapsed organ, Dr. Harris may begin your treatment with medication, stool softeners, and pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles.
A prolapsed rectum or a rectocele often needs surgery to repair the problem. Dr. Harris places the rectum back in its normal position, stitches it in place, and may strengthen the weakened muscle using some of the surrounding tissue or a mesh.
To learn more about pelvic floor disorders, call Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery or book an appointment online.