Lakes Regional Healthcare offers a specialty service for women called pelvic physical therapy. This therapy addresses any dysfunction involving the pelvic floor, which is a bowl-shaped group of muscles in the pelvis through which the vagina, urethra, and anus pass. The pelvic floor muscles help support your pelvic organs, act as a postural stabilizer, assist with sexual function, and help maintain continence by closing off the sphincters of the urethra and anus.
Pelvic physical therapy can be very helpful for individuals with urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating, fecal incontinence, constipation, tailbone pain/coccydynia or pain with sitting, pelvic or abdominal pain, pregnancy and postpartum issues, pain with intercourse, pelvic exams, or use of tampons, and so much more. Pelvic physical therapists are specially trained in performing a thorough evaluation and using evidence-based treatment techniques such as exercise, neuromuscular re-education, manual therapy, and behavioral changes to promote optimal pelvic floor health and improved quality of life.
Pelvic floor muscle strengthening or “Kegel” exercises are used to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. 50% of women taught how to perform Kegels do not perform them correctly! A pelvic physical therapist can assure correct technique and create an individualized exercise program based on your initial examination that not only addresses pelvic floor dysfunction but also neighboring muscles such as the abdominals, the gluteal muscles, and more. If your pelvic floor is tight or overactive, however, Kegels may not be appropriate. Therapists then utilize stretching, breathing techniques, relaxation training, and more to re-educate the pelvic floor muscles how to relax.
Hands-on techniques may be utilized internally and externally on the pelvic muscles or externally on the diaphragm, abdominals, gluteals, inner thighs, the low back, and more. Manual therapy can improve tissue mobility, decrease pain, and facilitate improved muscle activation. Manual therapy is also helpful on scar tissue, particularly from c-sections or tears from vaginal deliveries.
Patients may be educated on dietary and fluid recommendations, urge suppression techniques, bladder retraining, and toileting postures as part of their treatment.
To learn more about pelvic physical therapy, talk to your healthcare provider or call our Milford clinic at 712-338-2558.