Pelvic floor disorders are frustrating and can get in the way of enjoying everyday life. But these conditions are treatable, and physical therapy can help. Through pelvic floor rehab, you can get the in-person care you need, and you can rest assured that we’re taking extra precautions for your protection when you’re in our facilities.
Understanding Pelvic Floor Disorders
Many pelvic floor disorders exist, and one of the most common is stress urinary incontinence (SUI), or leaking urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze. This condition affects up to 35% of all women at some point in their lives.
It’s a common pelvic floor disorder that’s caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which act like a sling holding your organs in place. The pelvic floor supports the bladder and urethra (the tube from the bladder from which urine flows). If this area gets damaged, stretched or weakened, which can happen as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, SUI can develop.
Many women first notice SUI after childbirth, but it can happen at any age or stage, such as menopause. When activities like physical activity or sneezing put sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder), the muscles of the urethra can open, allowing urine to leak.
Other Pelvic Disorders to Know
Other common pelvic floor disorders include:
Bladder control problems, which occurs when the bladder falls from its proper place, causing urine to leak
Bowel control problems, or fecal incontinence, which occurs when the rectum is out of place, causing stool to leak from the rectum
Pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when the pelvic muscles can’t support one or more of the organs in the pelvic region (bladder, urethra, rectum, uterus and vagina)
Recognizing Pelvic Disorders
A pelvic floor disorder can be associated with conditions and symptoms such as:
Athletic injury associated with the pelvic floor
Frequency or overactive bladder
Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
How Pelvic Rehab Helps You Heal
If you have symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder, we encourage you to have a discussion with your physician to find the right treatment option, which may include pelvic floor physical therapy.
A pelvic floor physical therapist heals largely through movement, including exercises to help your pelvic floor muscles grow stronger and more flexible. The specialized physical therapy can be helpful for both women and men.
Pelvic floor physical therapists care about your whole health, which could mean changing your diet, cutting down on stress or using exercises or high-tech tools like biofeedback to monitor how your pelvic floor muscles react as you try to flex or relax them. Your physical therapist may also teach you Kegel exercises — contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor — to reduce and prevent leakage by strengthening those muscles that surround the urinary tract.
Don’t let a pelvic floor problem diminish your quality of life. Pelvic floor physical therapy is available through AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab. Take charge of your health and make an appointment today. Whether in-person or virtually, we’re here to give you the health care you need while keeping you protected and safe.
New Safety Measures at Our Facilities for Your Protection
To keep you safe during your appointments, we’ve made some important changes at our facilities. When you come into an AdventHealth physical therapy facility, here’s what you can expect.
Temperature Checks at All Facility Entrances
All health care providers, patients and visitors will have their temperature taken before they can enter the facility. That’s because most people who have coronavirus develop a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Separate Care Areas for People Who Are Sick
We have also set up designated care areas for patients who have concerning symptoms. These patients are being safely cared for in a separate area, apart from other patients.
Everyone Wears a Face Mask
In keeping with the latest guidelines from the CDC, all AdventHealth team members, visitors and patients must wear a face mask. If you don’t have a mask, we will provide you with one before you enter. All specialized physical therapy and other providers and staff will also be wearing safety equipment.
Social Distancing Measures
We redesigned our waiting rooms to help you practice social distancing. You will see covers on seats that say: “Thank you for leaving this seat empty. We’re social distancing to keep you safe.” Look for floor markers that help you stand 6 feet away from other people.
To minimize your contact with others, you may also be able to check in and wait for your physical therapy appointments in your car and check out while you’re in the exam room. When you come inside, you may notice barriers at registration desks. We are also limiting the number of people in each facility at all times.
Get Pelvic Rehab Virtually
If you prefer not to come into the office for appointments, you can schedule a telehealth appointment. We’re continuing to offer this option so that you can easily talk with your physical therapist virtually about the care you need.
During a telehealth appointment, your physical therapist can offer guidance on concerns you may have about your condition and show you exercises you can do at home to speed your progress. In addition to telemedicine and in-office appointments, our pelvic floor physical therapists, in many cases, offer online appointment scheduling, extended hours and same-day appointments to meet your busy schedule.
Protect Yourself From Pelvic Floor Disorders
These lifestyle changes can help you reduce your risk of developing a pelvic floor disorder:
Stay at a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of developing a pelvic floor disorder and make symptoms worse if you develop one. If you’ve recently gained weight, this post offers advice on how to lose weight safely and effectively.
Eating a healthy diet, with lots of fluids and plenty of high-fiber foods, can keep your bowels functioning normally. Preventing constipation can help reduce the risk of developing some pelvic floor disorders.
Do Your Homework
Even when you don’t have a pelvic floor disorder, Kegel exercises can help keep your pelvic floor muscles toned to reduce your risk of developing one. To perform a Kegel exercise, squeeze the muscles you would use if you were to try to stop yourself from urinating. Pull in these muscles and hold for three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Work your way up to 10 repetitions three times a day. You can do Kegels at home or anywhere, such as when you’re in your car waiting at a stoplight.
We’re Ready When You’re Ready
Whether you’re coming in for a pelvic floor physical therapy appointment or seeing another member of our health care team, we look forward to seeing you. We’re dedicated to meeting your needs and protecting you in our care. Don’t delay your care any longer — make an appointment today. Both in-person or virtually, we’re here to care for you.