Pelvic floor therapy may be the answer if you suffer from urine incontinence, painful intercourse, or pelvic area pain. This type of therapy can definitely be utilised to treat a variety of disruptive, uncomfortable, or painful pelvic floor problems.
Before discussing pelvic floor therapy and how it can benefit you, let us go over the basics first.
So, what is a pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is composed of ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and connective tissue that serve as the pelvic area’s foundation and support. Males and females both possess a pelvic floor.
Some key details about a pelvic floor are as follows?
- The pelvic floor supports the bladder in front, the uterus in the middle, and the vagina as well as the rectum in the back in women.
- The pelvic floor of men supports the bladder, bowel, urethra, and rectum.
- The anus from the bowel and the urethra from your bladder go out through the pelvic floor.
- Both men’s and women’s pelvic floor muscles connect at the front to the pubic bone and at the back to the tail bone.
Is it necessary to maintain a healthy pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is critical for bladder and bowel control in both males and females since it is responsible for “holding” those organs. Furthermore, it can be beneficial in both women’s and men’s sexual health. Men with weak pelvic floor muscles may experience erectile dysfunction; women with tight pelvic floor muscles may experience pain during intercourse. Both men and women, including adult and adolescent athletes competing in high-impact sports, can also develop urinary dysfunction.
A pelvic floor dysfunction may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Bladder discomfort
- Incontinence of the bowels
- Urination on a frequent basis and urine incontinence
- Pain in the groin, lower abdomen, pubic region, or tailbone
- Hip discomfort and other musculoskeletal problems
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain
- Asymmetry of the pelvis
- Prolapse of the pelvic organs (POP)
- Pelvic discomfort
- Pain in the pubic or tailbone
- Urinary dysfunction as a result of high-intensity sports
Pelvic floor therapy: when should I start and what should I expect?
While several of the above-mentioned manifestations may need surgery to correct structural flaws, others may be treated with physical therapy.
If you are experiencing pelvic floor issues that are interfering with your enjoyment of life, you may want to consider pelvic floor therapy.
Referral for pelvic floor therapy
A physician referral is required to begin pelvic floor physical therapy. For females, most recommendations come from an urogynecology or ob-gyn specialist. Men are frequently referred by urology or a specialist who specialises in post-prostate surgery care. Patients may also be referred to this treatment by primary care doctors.
What to expect
- Initial consultation. Most often than not, the clients are usually worried or anxious at the start of therapy. At the initial visit, the therapist will discuss what the treatment comprises and address any concerns or questions you may have. The meeting will usually take place inside a private treatment room, and therapy will not start until you are completely comfortable and ready. You must be urged to ask questions if you have some doubts, and your therapist must take the time to respond to your enquiries appropriately.
- Treatment period. As with many outpatient therapies, pelvic floor therapy includes exercises, manual approaches, and movement coordination. Electronic treatment, on the other hand, can also be beneficial. One type of therapy is biofeedback, which involves the application of small, painless electrodes to the area being treated, which may be the perianal, genital, or rectal area. Biofeedback has been proven to be a highly successful method of improving bladder function in a large number of individuals. If required, your therapist may conduct an interior examination. Although it may be unpleasant, it is a necessary aspect of the appointment. It is needed to see and evaluate the pelvic floor in order to provide you with an accurate and reliable physical therapy diagnosis. It is just like visiting a therapist for a shoulder injury wherein the therapist would touch and manually check your shoulder.
- Duration of treatment. The typical duration of a pelvic floor therapy treatment plan is one appointment per week for eight weeks. The duration of treatment will vary according to the diagnosis, the severity of the problem, and your own goals. Any kind of therapy is designed to assist you in regaining your optimal level of performance so that you can live a more active and healthy life.
Pelvic floor therapy: Kegel techniques and additional exercises
A pelvic floor therapy client might undergo a personalized home exercise regimen based on your preferred physical activity: low-impact walking, biking, or swimming. Another well-known exercise is the Kegel – invented in the 1940s by gynecologist Dr Arnold Kegel. While many patients are aware of Kegel exercises, it has been noted that they are frequently performed incorrectly.
To properly perform a Kegel, it shouldn’t be squeezed too hard, and you should not hold your breath. You should not also perform a Kegel while peeing. It would be best if you gently contract the Kegel muscle while slowly exhaling.
Pelvic floor therapy: the expected putcome
Following pelvic floor therapy, you might experience the following benefits:
- Getting back into a beloved sport
- Making it through a day without experiencing incontinence
- To be able to start your family
Before these things can happen, it is critical to reject the notion that your situation or the symptoms that you are experiencing are insignificant. There are a lot of people that think that their symptoms are usual. They believe that leaking pee is normal after birth or that having painful intercourse is normal, too. These kinds of issues can be resolved with the appropriate treatment and assistance.
Patients should begin to see improvement after a few visits. If no changes are apparent, adjustments may be made through a re-assessment appointment. Recovery is a process that takes time and is unique to each individual. Patients are encouraged to discuss progress and setbacks with their therapist. After achieving your objectives, it is suggested that you meet with your therapist on a yearly or semi-annual basis.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.