Postpartum Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Impact Upon Quality of Life, Assessment, Treatment Options in Primary Care, and Barriers to Treatment
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose: To explore the nurse practitioner's role in providing appropriate care for women who experience symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction between six weeks and 12 months postpartum. Data Sources: Review of the literature from 2007 to the present, via electronic search of CINAHL, Web of Science, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library. Conclusions: The physical problems associated with the postpartum period may affect women's function, emotional health status, and quality of life. Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction is best evaluated through verbal history-taking and conducting a physical exam of the perineum, vagina, and pelvic floor muscles. Current treatments for postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction include lifestyle modifications, pharmacologic therapy, and physical therapy. Supervised pelvic floor muscle training is increasingly being recognized as a cornerstone of therapy. Barriers to treatment of postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction include social stigma, delay in seeking treatment, and beliefs of both women and health care providers about the disease. Implications for Practice: Nurse practitioners working in primary care settings need to be proactive, questioning women who have given birth about symptom related to pelvic floor dysfunction in order to increase identification and treatment of the disease.