Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, such as pelvic floor dysfunction, that can affect daily life.
Millions of Americans are suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction and for many, the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated. Pelvic floor dysfunction refers to a wide range of problems where there is weakness or tightness in the muscles of the pelvic floor or impairment of the sacroiliac joints, low back, tailbone/coccyx-and/or hip joints. The pelvic floor is made up of 3 layers of muscles that form a sling that go from the pubic bone to the tailbone. These often “forgotten” muscles assist in supporting the organs of the pelvis and abdomen along with helping to control bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Possible causes of pelvic floor dysfunction:
Infection • Pregnancy • Childbirth • Insidious onset Trauma (bad fall or sexual abuse) • Post surgical Poor posture from low back pain or sacroiliac dysfunction
Malalignments of the pelvis/tailbone or spine
Does what I eat or drink have any impact on my symptoms of urinary dysfunction?
YES! Many women who have problems with incontinence shy away from drinking much water as they think it will make their problem worse. Actually, the opposite is true. Not drinking enough water can increase your urine concentration, which can worsen symptoms. Seems counterproductive to drink more water but it can actually be helpful in some cases. Also, certain “bladder irritants” such as coffee or tea can be extremely helpful in lessening your symptoms by decreasing or eliminating them from your diet.
Kegels is definitely the way to fix incontinence, right? This is one of the most common misconceptions women believe as many times they have been taught to just “do their kegels” as a solution to this annoying problem. The fact is that if YOU have tightened or shortened pelvic floor muscles (which occur for a variety of reasons), doing kegels could actually make your problem worse! An evaluation will determine the best course of treatment unique to your needs and musculoskeletal condition.
What can I expect during treatment? The team of Ferrell-Whited Pelvic floor physical therapists use a gentle approach to evaluate the alignment of your spine and pelvis. They check for tightness or weakness in your pelvic floor muscles (without using a speculum and in a private treatment room) and only within your comfort level. A pelvic floor strengthening program that consists of much more than just “doing your kegels” may be recommended but the treatment plan can be very different for each patient.
What symptoms/conditions pelvic floor therapy might be able to help you with?
Urinary Incontinence (Stress or Urge), Urinary Frequency or Urgency, Pelvic Pain, Dyspareunia or Pain With Intercourse, Vulvodynia, Pelvic Organ Prolapses, Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome,
Low Back Pain/Sciatica, Pregnancy and Postpartum