What Is Pelvic Health Physical Therapy?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support organs for body waste elimination and sexual activity. These muscles work with the diaphragm and abdominals to adjust intra abdominal pressure. Pelvic health physical therapy treatment involves retraining the pelvic floor musculature to reduce discomfort, decrease incontinence, and address other dysfunctions of the pelvic girdle. This can be done by a combination of: strengthening weak muscles with exercises, stretching tight muscles that limit movement, training overactive muscles to relax, posture correction, breathing strategies, desensitizing painful regions, education, and bladder retraining. Modalities such as surface electromyography biofeedback, a device that connects to electrodes, may be used to provide awareness of muscle activity. The specific techniques used will vary with each case. 

How Does The Physical Therapist Assess The Pelvic Floor Muscles?

The physical therapist may perform a vaginal or rectal examination as part of the pelvic floor evaluation to assess muscle strength and tone, similar to the thorough assessment of function in other body regions. The exam findings are combined with an in-depth patient history to develop a treatment plan that is specific to each patient and aims to improve muscle strength, mobility, and function using a combination of patient education, manual therapy, and exercise interventions.

How Can Pelvic Health PT Help Me?

The evaluation will be used to find possible contributing factors to a range of pelvic girdle diagnoses including: 

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Defecation Disorders
  • Constipation
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Pelvic Pain

The pelvic floor muscles can be underactive making it difficult to support the organs above which may impact the ability to stop leakage of bladder or bowel. They can also be overactive at rest resulting in an inability to fully contract or relax the muscles which may contribute to voiding dysfunctions.

Common Conditions We Treat

Urge Incontinence:

Characterized by loss of urine that is associated with a sudden, strong desire to urinate that cannot be postponed. Other symptoms include a need to urinate frequently and waking often during the night to urinate. The condition is also known as overactive bladder.

Stress Incontinence:

Occurs when physical movement or activity such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting puts pressure (stress) on your bladder, causing loss of urine. Stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress.

Mixed Incontinence:

A combination of both urge and stress incontinence.      

Who Will Be Treating Me?

Pelvic health physical therapy requires additional training specific to the pelvic girdle. Therapists who treat this region must complete the coursework requirements and are certified by passing both written and practical portions before treating patients. Our pelvic health physical therapists have completed this required training and are certified to diagnose and treat patients with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. 

Call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. You can fill out the paperwork in advance and bring it with you to your first appointment using the link below:

Pelvic health intake form



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