Pelvic Floor 101: We are familiar with the pelvis, but what exactly is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that support your urinary tract, rectum, uterus (or prostate), and bladder. This region of the body is responsible for supporting bladder control and bowel function as well.
When these important muscles aren’t working as they should, they can cause pain and other symptoms that interfere with our quality of life. Physical therapy can help recover these muscles so they can once again function normally and ease you of associated symptoms and pain.
1 in 5 people will suffer from a pelvic floor disorder during their lifetime.
What is pelvic floor therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a type of therapy that works with a targeted approach to help treat pain, weakness, and dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles. The type of therapy performed will depend on the condition and symptoms you’re experiencing. Some conditions require relaxing the muscles, while others require strengthening them.
Being overweight, not physically active, smoking, stress, and hormonal fluctuations can contribute to the overall health of your pelvic floor.
Common conditions that can be improved with pelvic floor physical therapy are:
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary frequency (until symptoms improve over time with therapy, medication can be used short-term to calm an overactive bladder, such as Oxybutynin)
- Urinary urgency
- Painful urination
- Difficulty stopping or starting urinating
- Difficulty fully emptying the bladder (this can cause recurring UTI’s)
- Bowel problems such as constipation
- Fecal incontinence
- Straining or experiencing pain during bowel movements
- Unexplained pain in the pelvis or bladder, such as bladder spasms
- Pelvic pain
- Pain in the genital area
- Rectal pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
What Are the Benefits?
Men and women alike can have pelvic floor dysfunction, and can both greatly benefit from PT treatment. Just as you’d work to prevent chronic health conditions such as heart disease, you can actively work to prevent Pelvic Floor conditions as you age.
For women, this can help prevent bladder leakage and pain during sex, and for men, it can help prevent erectile dysfunction and promote faster healing after prostate surgery. In both men and women, it helps bowel function as well and overall bladder control.
For post-partum women, Pelvic Floor PT can be a true blessing as it promotes faster healing and restores your pelvic floor function after giving birth.
One of many pelvic pain stories:
“After 4 recurring UTI’s, and constant spasms in my bladder—I was desperate for relief. I searched the internet for a solution, and desperate to try anything that wasn’t another course of antibiotics, I found out about Pelvic Floor PT. I found a local therapist who was able to listen to my concerns, diagnose my condition, and work to find relief. After just a few months of therapy, I can confidently say that I am on the path to recovery. I’ve learned so much about my body in the process, and I’m super grateful that this area of practice exists. It’s so much more important than people realize!”
—Katherine Sorensen, Lead Copywriter at GeniusRx