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Overview of Pelvic Relaxation Syndromes

By S. Gene McNeeley, MD, Clinical Professor;Chief of Gynecology, Center for Advanced Gynecology and Pelvic Health, Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine;Trinity Health

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Pelvic relaxation syndromes result from laxities (similar to hernias) in the ligaments, fascia, and muscles supporting the pelvic organs (pelvic floor—see Figure: Pelvic relaxation syndromes.). About 9% of women require surgical repair for a pelvic relaxation syndrome.

Common contributing factors include

  • Childbirth (particularly vaginal delivery)

  • Obesity

  • Aging

  • Injury (eg, due to pelvic surgery)

  • Chronic straining

Less common factors include congenital malformations, increased abdominal pressure (eg, due to ascites, abdominal tumors, or chronic respiratory disorders), sacral nerve disorders, and connective tissue disorders.

Pelvic relaxation syndromes involve various sites of prolapse and include cystocele, urethrocele, enterocele, rectocele, and uterine and vaginal prolapse. Usually, prolapse occurs in multiple sites.

Pelvic relaxation syndromes.

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