Pelvic floor therapy is essential to women’s health. As pelvic floor muscles control the bladder, bowel and uterus, these muscles need to be healthy so that each of these body parts can function properly. Pelvic Floor Therapy helps treat incontinence, constipation, pain during intercourse, chronic pelvic pain and many other disorders.
One of the most common problems women seeks pelvic floor therapy for urinary incontinence. Incontinent women may feel a sudden, strong urge to pee and leak urine when doing such activities as running, coughing or sneezing.
2. Chronic Pelvic Pain
Between 7%-10% of women suffer from pelvic pain lasting more than six months. This type of chronic pelvic pain only occurs in women and is often associated with painful intercourse, bowel and bladder problems, and can cause distress and negatively impact sexual activity. It is possible to treat this condition using pelvic floor physical therapy successfully.
3. Childbirth/Abdominal Organ Prolapse
Childbirth causes weakness in the muscles that support the uterus, bladder and bowel. Symptoms include feeling a pulling sensation or fullness in the pelvis and pain during intercourse. In most cases, these muscle problems are temporary. Still, in some instances, the muscles do not return to their original state, which can lead to prolapse (bulging) of the uterus or bladder into one’s vagina.
4. Painful Intercourse
Pelvic floor physical therapy effectively treats painful intercourse (vaginismus). Vaginismus is an involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles that can make penetration uncomfortable or even impossible; it may be caused by fear of pain, previous bad experiences with sex such as sexual abuse, past negative feelings about one’s genitals, etc. Women suffering from vaginismus often feel anxiety even thinking about penetration, making it difficult to engage in sexual activity with their partners; pelvic floor physical therapy can help.
5. Other Problems
Other problems pelvic floor physical therapy may be used for include constipation, bowel and bladder incontinence, menstrual cramps, chronic pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and chronic pelvic pain.
6. Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The first step is being aware of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Symptoms vary depending on the problem being experienced. Still, common ones are urinary urgency/frequency, low back pain, painful sex, vaginal pressure or muscle spasms during intercourse, intestinal gas/digestion issues such as bloating or constipation, menstrual cramps, chronic pain during menstruation.
If you experience these symptoms, it is recommended that you see a pelvic floor physical therapist for an assessment to determine what the cause may be and how best to treat it. This will help ensure your treatment meets your specific needs and goals.