Background :The Integral Theory System considers pelvic organ prolapse (POP), pain, bladder & bowel dysfunctions to be mainly caused by laxity in up to 5 suspensory ligaments and their vaginal attachments. Aim To define the role of ligaments in normal function (Part1), then dysfunction and principles of surgical cure (Part 2).
Methods :The role of pelvic ligaments and muscles in normal bladder & bowel closure, evacuation, central and peripheral neurological control is analysed.
Results :Normal function Ligaments stretch minimally, vagina stretches extensively during coughing, straining, squeezing, micturition, defecation. Competent ligaments suspend organs and act as insertion points for 3 striated muscle forces. These act in opposite directions to close and open urethra & anorectum, stretch organs to prevent inappropriate activation of micturition and defecation reflexes. Dysfunction Ligaments must be competent, otherwise the muscles which contract against them lengthen and weaken. A cascade of dysfunctions follow from elongated ligaments: prolapse; muscles cannot close urethral and anal tubes (incontinence) open them (emptying problems) or stretch organs sufficiently to support stretch receptors which may fire off prematurely to activate the micturition reflex (urge incontinence, frequency, nocturia) or defecation reflex (fecal incontinence).
Conclusions :Part 1 demonstra-ted that competent ligament insertion points are required for the 3 directional forces which control mechanical closure and evacuation and the neurological feedback mechanisms for defecation and micturition reflexes. Lengthening of the sarcomere due to ligament laxity was conside-red the ultimate link between loose ligaments and dysfunctions in these organs.
Corresponding Author: SEKIGUCHI Y.|