Women's Health Physical Therapy (Pelvic Floor)
In women, the pelvis consists of the bladder, uterus and vagina, and rectum. A pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues, ranging from the public bone to the tailbone. Pelvic floor muscles have an important job, which is to help support abdominal and pelvic organs, as well as help assist in controlling the bladder, bowel, and sexual activity.
Many women experience symptoms that are generalized as pelvic floor dysfunction. This entails several issues, which include weakening or tightening of pelvic floor muscles, or damage to certain structures. As such, the following overview will help explore how women’s health physical therapy, or pelvic floor exercises, can help improve these conditions.
What happens with weakened pelvic floor muscles?
When a person has pelvic floor dysfunction, they may experience certain symptoms. These symptoms include urgent or frequent urination, leaking, constipation, pain during sex, and other similar symptoms. According to Beaumont, it is estimated that one in three adult women experience some form of pelvic floor dysfunction at some point.
What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?
Some causes of pelvic floor dysfunction are not known. However, certain conditions are more likely to cause pelvic floor dysfunction. These conditions include:
- Previous pelvic surgery
- Injuries to Pelvic Region
- Excess weight
- Older Age
What is pelvic floor physical therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specific type of therapy targeted to the pelvic floor
muscles. This type of specific physical therapy is targeted at strengthening
weakened pelvic floor muscles, which can help improve symptoms associated with
women’s health problems.
Pelvic floor physical therapy may include certain exercises aimed to help patients
increase control and strength to the pelvic floor. This includes pelvic stability
training, stretching the muscles, deep tissue massage, cold or heat therapy,
electrical stimulation, and more.
The type of pelvic floor physical therapy program you’ll start will depend on your
diagnosis. In some instances, biofeedback is used. Biofeedback uses specialized
sensors, along with computer technology, to help patients train their pelvic floor muscles.
Another component of pelvic floor therapy is strengthening the core or abdominal muscles. While this is not related to the pelvic floor muscles, training the core can help contribute to overall strength and help you control your weakened pelvic floor.
Another method used in pelvic floor therapy involves triggering point release. This entails identifying specific points which cause pain and using pressure to help relieve pain in these areas.
It is important to be patient with pelvic floor physical therapy. Like all kinds of physical therapy, consistency, and dedication to stay on track with your plan is important. Pelvic floor therapy is not a quick fix. However, with long-term effort, many women experience many benefits from pelvic floor therapy.
What type of medical conditions are considered "women's health" problems?
How can physical therapy help women's health?
Physical therapy will start with a complete evaluation by a physical therapist. Your physical therapist will work with you to determine which type of pelvic floor dysfunction you’re experiencing. Women’s health physical therapy is a specific sub-specialty of physical therapy, which involves helping women with women-specific health concerns.
These conditions include pelvic and bladder pain, pregnancy and postpartum complications, urinary incontinence, and more.
Depending on your symptoms and medical conditions, your women’s health physical therapy may be targeted differently. For patients experiencing bladder problems, retaining the bladder can help.