Physical therapy is often associated with helping to improve the muscle quality in large body parts like the back, arms and legs. But it’s also important to remember that physiotherapy can help important muscles that are often overlooked, such as your pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor is essential to bladder and bowel control, as well as sexual function. But why should you seek pelvic floor physical therapy near you? That’s what we’re here to answer.
Read on to learn about the basics of your pelvic floor and why you may need pelvic floor physical therapy. You will also learn about pelvic floor exercises and techniques that a physical therapist may recommend.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is located between your pubic bone in the pelvis and your tailbone, which is sometimes referred to as the “bowl” of the pelvis. It consists of muscle tissue and ligaments that support your pelvic organs, including the bladder, small intestine and rectum. For females, the pelvic floor also supports the uterus and vagina.
The pelvic floor muscles have multiple functions including:
- Supporting your abdominal organs.
- Providing stability for the lower back and pelvis.
- Controlling the urethra and rectum to prevent leakage of urine, feces and gas.
- Contributing to sexual function, such as arousal and sensation.
- Circulating blood back up to the heart.
When and why you may need to seek pelvic floor PT near you
People can develop pelvic floor dysfunction that causes the muscles to weaken, spasm or become lax. It’s also possible to tear the pelvic floor muscles or fascia, which is the connective tissue that holds the organs, muscles and nerves in place.
There is a variety of pelvic floor dysfunction that you should be aware of. While some symptoms apply to either gender, there are several that only affect females.
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Leaking urine while running, laughing or sneezing.
- Inability to reach the toilet in time.
- Passing gas when you bend over or lift an object.
- Feeling heaviness or dragging in your back or pelvis.
- Reduced vaginal sensation.
- Inability to keep in a tampon.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction, especially incontinence. In fact, up to 70% of women experience urinary incontinence while pregnant.
During pregnancy, the baby puts extra pressure on a female’s pelvic floor. Also, the body will prepare for delivery by producing hormones that soften the muscles to allow the soft tissue and pelvic joints to widen so that the baby can pass through the birth canal.
During vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor structures will compress and stretch. Other ways that childbirth can damage the pelvic floor are with fast delivery, pushing for more than 90 minutes or giving birth to a large baby.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be persistent or even worsen, which is why it’s important to find pelvic floor PT near you when you start to experience several of the symptoms.
Pelvic floor PT techniques
The best way to alleviate pelvic floor dysfunction is to find physical therapy near you. A physical therapist can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles as well as help reduce incontinence.
There are several ways that PT near you can help improve your pelvic floor quality, including:
- Exercises — When your pelvic floor muscles become weak or damaged, targeted exercises are the best way to increase their strength. A physical therapist can walk you through a variety of exercises that will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help to restore their function. The exercises will also increase muscle control in your lower abdomen.
- Muscle stimulation — Pelvic floor dysfunction often means that your muscles have forgotten how to contract, which can make strengthening exercises difficult. Your physical therapist might recommend pelvic floor muscle electrical stimulation to help your muscles relearn how to properly contract.
- Bladder training — Since incontinence is one of the most common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, your physical therapist can teach you techniques that will help you learn how to control your urge to urinate until you can reach a bathroom. They can also help you learn how to more completely empty your bladder. A therapist will even recommend lifestyle changes that will help your bladder function, such as water intake, working out and weight loss.
- Relaxation techniques — Sometimes your bladder function is affected by emotional and psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety. A physical therapist can show you how to relax with breathing and postural techniques that can help decrease the tension in your body that may be contributing to your bladder problems.
Forever Fit can provide pelvic floor PT near you
A healthy and strong pelvic floor is more important than many people may realize. If you’re experiencing incontinence or decreased sexual function, then finding pelvic floor PT near you may be the key.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.