Are you experiencing pelvic floor pain and asking yourself how pelvic floor physical therapy could help? You are not alone. This type of dysfunction affects nearly 27% of women between the ages of 40 and 59. This number only rises with age because pelvic floor muscles deteriorate over time. In fact, over 50% of women over the age of 80 have pelvic pain.
Those who suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction cannot relax and coordinate their pelvic floor muscles properly to have a bowel movement. They may also experience constipation, straining to defecate, urine or stool leakage, and the need to pee frequently.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can be the first line of defense a doctor will recommend to treat pelvic floor pain, as well as biofeedback and medication.
Along with helping improve pelvic health, doctors will routinely use pelvic physical therapy in postnatal care to treat post-pregnancy conditions. This treatment helps a new mother recover from the stress put on the pelvic region during pregnancy and childbirth.
Women may also use pelvic floor exercises and physical therapy during pregnancy or if struggling with endometriosis. Both men and women can be treated for aging conditions and irritable bowel syndrome.
Here is what you should know about your pelvic floor dysfunction and the differences between the urge to urinate and stress incontinence. We will also discuss how pelvic floor physical therapy can help you regain your urinary, bowel, and overall health.
What is Pelvic Floor Pain?
Pelvic floor pain can occur when the muscles in your pelvic floor cannot relax or coordinate properly to urinate or make a bowel movement.
Pelvic Floor Pain in Men and Women
While pelvic floor dysfunction affects every gender, it is more common in women. One reason is the stress placed on the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
After giving birth, many women develop pelvic floor problems. During childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles and tissues stretch, especially if the woman experienced a long, protracted, or difficult labor.
Those suffering from pelvic floor pain from pregnancy often rely on pelvic floor physical therapy to gain control of these muscles and learn how to contract and relax them properly.
Although pregnancy is a huge factor in developing pelvic floor pain dysfunction, the exact cause is still uncertain. However, there are a few other well-known factors that can increase your chance of developing pelvic floor dysfunction, including:
- Injury to the pelvic region because of a traumatic event
- Overuse of the pelvic muscles, such as going to the bathroom too frequently or pushing too hard
- Surgery to the pelvic region
- Being overweight
- Familial genes
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Several symptoms may indicate pelvic floor dysfunction. If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend speaking with a specialist.
- Having to use the restroom too frequently
- Repeatedly stopping and starting during a bowel movement
- Experiencing constipation
- Frequently forcing bowel movements
- Having to shift positions on the toilet
- Using your hand to help expel stool
- Straining or pushing hard to pass a bowel movement
- Stool or urine leakage (incontinence)
- Painful urination
- Unexplainable back pain
- Male urinary dysfunction that causes urine to leak after peeing, incontinence, and other bowel or bladder issues (in men)
- Erectile dysfunction (in men)
- Inflammation of the prostate (in men)
- Pain during sex (in women)
Urge Incontinence vs. Stress
One of the most common symptoms those with pelvic floor dysfunction experience is urinary incontinence. Incontinence affects more than 13 million Americans, with women being twice as likely as males to develop the disorder.
Urinary incontinence isn’t just a problem for the elderly. It is also a problem for the young. Whether you are young or old, incontinence might be humiliating and have a detrimental impact on your day-to-day activities.
When sneezing, laughing, or coughing, many people experience incontinence and fail to make it to the bathroom on time. But how do you know if you are experiencing stress incontinence or developed urge incontinence?
Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles that restrict urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter, weaken or are damaged.
On the other hand, urge incontinence results from overactivity of the detrusor muscles, which control the bladder. This dysfunction can cause you to feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom or lose control of your bladder.
It is also possible to experience stress and urge incontinence, which is also known as mixed incontinence.
No matter which types of incontinence you experience, it may stem from various factors, including pregnancy, vaginal surgery, or weak pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help you with this annoying health issue.
Please speak with a medical specialist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They can properly diagnose the issue, provide professional health advice, and help you find appropriate treatment like pelvic floor pain therapy.
Pelvic Floor Pain & Incontinence Treatment
If you are starting to ask yourself, “How can pelvic floor physical therapy help me?” You aren’t alone. Let’s discuss how physical therapy can help you stop stressing about your incontinence, pregnancy body, and pelvic floor pain.
In many cases, you won’t need surgery to cure pelvic floor dysfunction. Instead, physical therapy can help improve your symptoms and relieve the pain caused by pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you require physical therapy, you will most likely feel better after a few months of sessions.
Working with a women’s health physical therapist, you can determine the type of treatment you require, including biofeedback, targeted pelvic floor exercises, and relaxation techniques.
When you first meet with your physical therapist, you will discuss your history and undergo an examination. This examination may include:
- Detailing your medical history and symptoms
- Observing how your muscles react or handle pressure
- An internal examination to assess the strength of the muscles and health of the pelvic tissue
- Examining the three layers of the pelvic floor
- First Layer: Superficial transverse perineal, Bulbocavernosus, Ischiocavernosus, and External anal sphincter
- Second Layer: Compressor urethrae, Urethral sphincter, deep transverse perineal, and Sphincter urethral vaginalis,
- Third Layer: Pubococcygeus and Iliococcygeus (Levator Ani), Piriformis, Coccygeus, and Obturator internus.
- Examining the joints and muscles in your hips, back, and core
- Testing your range of motion, flexibility, and overall strength
Once your physical therapist performs an examination, they will provide a detailed care routine to address your condition. They will discuss with you all their findings to ensure that you are aware of what is happening and how they plan to treat it.
Your plan of care should include how often you visit for physical therapy and how long. Sometimes a patient may only require a few sessions to understand which techniques or pelvic floor exercises to use. However, other times a patient will require more intensive and hands-on treatment that will usually necessitate more frequent visits.
Depending on what your physical therapists find during your assessment, they may recommend performing hip stretches, core and hip strengthening, hands-on manual stretching, Kegels or reverse Kegels or a combination of the above.
Women’s Physical Therapy at RPT
Physical therapy could be the answer you need to treat your incontinence and pelvic floor pain. RPT is a physical therapy clinic in Utah that has therapists who specialize in women’s health.
Our skilled therapists can teach you exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, allowing you to manage your bladder better and control your pain. You will be able to control your bladder and reduce the frequency and urge by working with one of our fully qualified physical therapists.
We provide individualized treatment strategies to alleviate symptoms and help you feel better. Along with developing a detailed treatment plan, we will teach you pelvic floor exercises to perform long-term.
These detailed solutions will do wonders in treating persistent pelvic pain problems, stress and urge incontinence, pregnancy body, irritable bowel syndrome, and other dysfunctions in the pelvic region.
You can rely on RPT to provide you with the best physical therapy to manage your pain and help you perform at your best.
Whatever symptom you need treatment for, our team will treat you as if you are our first priority because you are.