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Importance of Pelvic Floor PT

Updated: Apr 30




The pelvic floor has become a hot topic over the past few years. Maybe you know someone who has gone through pelvic floor therapy, heard about it from a medical provider, or even read/ heard about it on social media. Discussing pelvic dysfunction used to be a taboo subject, but as more people discuss their conditions, which are more common than you may expect, it has become more popular.


The pelvic floor consists of muscles and connective tissues that help to stabilize your core, support organs such as the bladder, large intestine, and internal reproductive organs, and assist with bodily functions such as peeing, pooping, and engaging in sexual activity. These muscles contract and relax like the rest of our muscles throughout our body to allow the above activities to occur. They also help with pressure management during breathing, lifting, coughing, etc. These muscles work like any other muscle in the body by contracting and relaxing in order to remove waste from your body and perform the activities listed above. They often work automatically, but you can also deliberately engage these muscles, like flexing a bicep. These muscles are located across the pelvis from the pubic bone to the tailbone, and they also extend out from your sit bones (ischial tuberosities) to either side of your pelvis. These muscles help create the bottom of your core, working in conjunction with the abdominals, back muscles, and diaphragm to create your body’s core, helping to create overall stability.


The control of the pelvic floor muscles is essential for healthy bowel, bladder, and sexual function. Common conditions and/or disorders can occur if these muscles are not working appropriately. Common conditions due to weak, tense, and/or poor coordination of muscles are incontinence (bladder and bowel), urgency, constipation, pain with penetration (sex, tampon insertion, gynecological exams), pelvic pain, back/hip pain, and pelvic organ prolapse. The pelvic floor muscles can be influenced by a variety of factors which may cause them to be weak or very tense, including, but not limited to, pregnancy, giving birth (vaginal and Cesarean), the result of trauma including sexual trauma, overuse (repeated heavy lifting, constipation, straining, etc.), stress, and other gynecological conditions. Hormone imbalances can also affect pelvic floor function. As with other medical conditions, there may not be one clear cause of someone’s pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect any age and any gender, as everyone has a pelvic floor.


There are multiple ways to treat pelvic floor dysfunction, including physical therapy, medical devices such as a vaginal pessary, medications, changes to diet, exercise, and surgery. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized kind of physical therapy to treat pelvic floor dysfunctions. It is a non-surgical treatment option that can focus on strengthening, relaxation, manual therapy, exercises, and education, all depending on the specific condition being treated. Your PT would evaluate your symptoms and perform an internal/external exam to fully understand your condition. An internal exam would allow your PT to assess the pelvic floor muscles, which cannot be palpated regularly as the majority of your muscles can be. Do not worry, though, if an internal exam is not something you would like done; your PT can work with you on your symptoms without performing any internal work. Your therapist will help to explain anatomy, plan of care, and your treatment plan to address your pelvic floor dysfunction.


Kegels have been a buzzword going around on social media and across the news. People often say kegels benefit everyone, but kegels are not the answer to every pelvic disorder. Sometimes, performing them can make certain conditions worse. The best bet would be to hold off on performing this type of exercise until being evaluated by a pelvic floor professional who can appropriately prescribe exercise for your specific pelvic condition.


Pelvic pain and conditions can affect anyone at any age in life! Wellness 360 is now offering women's Health Physical Therapy! You do not need to let pelvic pain hold you back from living your life to the fullest. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, give us a call at 585-259-0782 to set up an evaluation. A referral may be required by your PCP, OB/GYN or urologist.



 




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