Yes, I said it, urinary incontinence! I know it’s not the most glamorous subject, but it is a familiar term to many men and women. Have you ever laughed, coughed, or sneezed and felt something “leak” out? Have you ever had to the use the restroom so bad, only to not make it in time? Has this left you feeling anxious, worried, or embarrassed? If so, we have great news, a Pelvic Floor Therapist can work to relieve these symptoms, without surgery, getting you back to the things you love!
Pelvic floor therapy is a branch of physical therapy that manages conditions related to the pelvis. Just like any muscle in the body, pelvic muscles can become tight, weak, or imbalanced. When this happens, it results in urinary or fecal leakage, pelvic pain, painful intercourse and more.
Stress incontinence (SUI) is the most common form of incontinence and is typically experienced by women but it can also occur in men after a prostatectomy. Stress incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, running, heavy lifting or jumping and is often a result of weakness and/or discoordinated pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles at the base of the pelvis that provide support to the organs, aid in pelvic stability, and help maintain continence. Physical changes that can increase the likelihood of SUI include:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Surgery including but not limited to prostatectomy
- Menstrual cycle (due to decrease of estrogen level)
- Not using your pelvic floor muscles
Now, let’s get to the good news! Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy can restore function, improve muscular support around the pelvis and retrain body movements to allow for optimal structural and organ function. We do this through a variety of techniques, which varies for each individual case based on patient history and symptoms. Please reach out to your local pelvic floor therapist for a consultation to learn more about your specific options.
What to expect during your pelvic floor therapy appointments
Due to the sensitive nature of this area, a compassionate and trauma-informed approach should be taken by your pelvic floor specialist. Your initial consultation should include a careful interview and discussion about your experience, including an account of symptoms as well as medical history and lifestyle.
To complete your assessment your pelvic floor specialist will look at posture, breathing, and pelvic alignment. With consent, they will do an external and internal vaginal and/or rectal assessment of the pelvic floor muscles . During this part of the exam they are looking for strength, endurance, tension, trigger points, and coordination of these muscles.
Treatment sessions may include myofascial and trigger point release, visceral mobilization, biofeedback, e-stimulation, and Pilates-based rehabilitation. Education on lifestyle and behavioral strategies that are shared will compliment your therapy.
Physical Therapists specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation offer highly effective, non-surgical treatments to relieve symptoms. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.