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Diagnosis

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How Pelvic Floor Disorders are Diagnosed

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Pelvic health disorders can be diagnosed several ways, the most simple being a physical exam by your doctor. When going for a routine well women exam or an annual physical, a doctor may see or feel the bulge of a prolapse. However, in many cases, a doctor will order specific tests after a woman reports the symptoms of PFD discussed here. As mentioned, many of these symptoms are not felt by women with disabilities or her doctor may think they are a symptom of another diagnosis (i.e. neurogenic bladder or bowel).

Some of the tests that can be performed to diagnose a PFD may also give results that could be interpreted as related to injury or disability. For example, several tests look at the strength of the muscles that are used to hold in a bowel movement or urine. If these muscles are damaged or weakened for a reason related to a woman’s disability, the doctor may simply ignore the poor results and a PFD may go undiagnosed or untreated.

Waiting for a doctor to diagnose a PFD in a physical exam may mean the PFD has reached a more serious stage requiring more intensive treatment. The education of both women with disabilities and their doctors is needed to make sure these disorders are diagnosed earlier.