What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the pelvis that play a role in urinary continence, fecal continence, sex- ual intercourse, and core stabilization. Therefore, when they are not functioning correctly, you may experience urinary issues including frequency and incontinence that may include leakage with laughing, coughing, sneez- ing, squatting, or bending over. Dysfunction in these muscles can also result in pain with intercourse as well as low back pain, abdominal pain, and pelvic pain. Women are vulnerable to issues with the pelvic floor throughout the course of life including during pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause.
When to Speak to Your Doctor
When to speak to your doctor about a referral to Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor/Women’s Health Physical Therapy:
- If you are experiencing urinary or bowel incontinence (leakage).
- If you feel you are unable to completely empty your bladder or the urinary stream is not normal.
- If you are having any vaginal or anal issues following breast, uterine or gastrointestinal cancer.
- If you are experiencing dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
- If you are experiencing dyspareunia (pain with intercourse).
- If you are experiencing any musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy or post-partum.
- If you are experiencing any urinary leakage or pain with intercourse following delivery.
- If you are experiencing pain at the tailbone or near the sit bones while you are sitting.
- If you are experiencing pain in the pelvis, vagina, or lower abdomen.
- If you are experiencing a prolaps of your pelvic organs.
Rehabilitation May Include:
- Pelvic floor relaxation/strength training
- Bladder/bowel retraining
- Exercises designed to stretch/strengthen affected muscles to correct imbalances
- Manual therapy
- Restoration of normal posture and alignment
- Improvement of pelvic organ alignment
- Strategies to decrease incontinence episodes
- Improvement/restoration of joint movement
Your therapist will begin the evaluation with an interview to identify your specific problems and their effect on your daily activities. Your examination will be done in a private room. Your movement patterns will be assessed as well as your strength and flexibility. Your therapist will discuss the findings with you and provide you with education regarding your specific condition and the expectation of therapy. Any questions you have will be addressed.