A Collaborative Patient-Centered Service
Source: Ms Juriyah Yatim, RN, MN was speaking at the World Continence Week 2010 Public Forum held on 12 June 2010.
Authors: Ms Juriyah Yatim, RN, MN, Advanced Practice Nurse, SGH Pelvic Floor Disorder Service, Singapore General Hospital
Pelvic floor disorder or pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a general term that describes a wide range of clinical problems that affect the normal function of any of the pelvic organs, namely the urinary system, bowel system and female reproductive system. These are principally classified with reference to anterior pelvic compartment symptoms, mostly concerned with urinary, sexual function and pelvic organ prolapse; and the posterior compartment symptoms related to colorectal function, such as faecal incontinence and disordered defecation. Mechanical, neural, endocrine and environmental factors play a major role in the development of PFD (Davis & Kumar, 2003). These disorders predominantly affect females and undermine the quality of lives of at least one-third of adult women. Many of them suffer in silence hence the true impact of PFD remains unknown but worrisome. The “conspiracy theory” begins when a healthcare provider does not ask and patient does not tell. As this subject matter is not a cocktail conversation, women feel isolated and don’t seek support and treatment. Although rarely life-threatening, the symptoms of PFD are embarrassing and, if left untreated, can lead to social isolation, sexual inhibition, restricted employment and leisure opportunities and potential loss of independence.