What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on the muscles of the pelvic floor, which are responsible for supporting the bladder, uterus, and other organs. The goal of pelvic floor physiotherapy is to strengthen and relax these muscles to improve general pelvic health. This type of therapy can help resolve issues such as urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, constipation, and prolapse. Let’s dive in and understand more about this treatment!
What Does Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Involve?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy involves a variety of techniques to strengthen the muscles in your pelvis. These techniques include exercises like Kegels (squeezing the pelvic muscles) and biofeedback (using sensors to measure muscle contractions) to improve strength and control of the pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor or physical therapist may also recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain activities or positions that can cause pain or discomfort.
Common Symptoms of Pelvic Issues
- Leakage of Urine with laughing, coughing, sneezing and sexual intercourse.
- Sudden urgency to pass urine that may include leakage.
- Going to the toilet too often including at night (>1-2 times)
- Bowel leakage with activity like walking, running, etc
- Constipation, diarrhea.
- Difficulty inserting a tampon
- Pain during IUD insertion or PAP test
- Difficulty in sexual intercourse due to pain
- Pain after intercourse
- Postmenopausal pain and tightness
- Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or back
- Dull aches to sharp pains that come in waves
- Feeling of something coming down through the vagina or heaviness or pressure in the vagina.
What Conditions Can Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Help With?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Incontinence (both urinary and fecal),
- Pelvic organ prolapse (such as bladder or rectal prolapse)
- Overactive bladder syndrome
- Chronic pelvic pain syndromes (including endometriosis)
- Postpartum recovery after childbirth
- Sexual dysfunction (including vaginismus),
- Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS),
- Diastasis recti abdominis (separation of abdominal muscles during pregnancy),
- Vulvodynia/vestibulodynia/clitorodynia (chronic vulval pain)
- Address pre-existing conditions such as hip or back pain
- Injuries related to sports or other activities.
Who Should Consider Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Anyone experiencing pelvic floor issues should consider seeking out a qualified physiotherapist for an assessment. Some common signs noticed in women that might benefit from pelvic floor exercises include pain during intercourse, difficulty with bowel movements, urinary leakage when coughing or sneezing, increased sudden urge to pass urine or feeling like something is “falling out” in your vagina. It can also be beneficial for pregnant women who want to prepare their body for childbirth or those who have recently given birth and are looking for ways to regain strength in their core muscles.
Men can also show signs like accidental urine leakage, dribbling, difficulty emptying the bladder (stop and start multiple times), increased urge to urinate and pain during urination.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an effective way to strengthen and relax the muscles in your pelvis that support your bladder, uterus, and other organs. It can help resolve issues such as urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, constipation, and prolapse. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or just want to take proactive steps towards better pelvic health overall then it’s worth considering consulting with a qualified physiotherapist who can assess your situation and provide personalized advice on how best to address any issues you might be having!
What does a pelvic floor physiotherapist do?
Pelvic floor physiotherapists are professionals who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of pelvic floor disorders. Through a comprehensive assessment, they assess the strength, timing and coordination of pelvic floor muscles to identify any structural or functional problems. Pelvic floor physiotherapists’ expertise allows them to provide advice on lifestyle modifications that can help prevent recurrence of dysfunction and educate individuals on performing exercises that can improve strength of the pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy and surgery.
What happens on the first day of pelvic floor physical therapy?
On their initial visit, patients should expect to discuss their health goals with the physical therapist and review their medical history. After that, the therapist will likely perform an assessment to understand any impairments or dysfunctions causing problems. This examination could include posture and muscle assessment, pelvic floor muscle assessment that includes external and internal examination along with examination of pelvic floor muscle activity. In addition to this evaluation, the therapist might give lifestyle recommendations or advice on specific strategies that can help improve pelvic floor dysfunction.
What do you wear to a pelvic floor physio appointment?
Ideally, wear something comfortable and that which gives easy access to the pelvic, hips and lower abdominal area such as track pants or leggings with a T-shirt or a comfortable top.
About Romita Fernandes Reg. P.T
Romita Fernandes is a Registered Physiotherapist who works with the Allied Physiotherapy Health Group. Her practice includes treating musculoskeletal, geriatric and neurological conditions. She is also trained in treating Pelvic health issues in both males and females. She believes in empowering her clients to become active participants in their treatment and better their quality of life by improving their understanding of the condition and treatment, along with providing effective and quality treatment.