Family and Friends Health Care

What Is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and How Can it Help?

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Pelvic floor disorders are frustrating for some; for others, they can be debilitating and can get in the way of your daily functioning. But there is hope. These conditions are treatable, and a special kind of physical therapy called pelvic floor therapy can help.

Through pelvic floor rehab, you can get the one-on-one care you need and begin your new symptom and pain-free life.

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:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Athletic injury associated with the pelvic floor
  • Constipation
  • Frequency or overactive bladder
  • Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
  • Painful intercourse
  • Tailbone pain
  • Urinary urge

How Pelvic Floor Therapy 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.

Get Pelvic Rehab Virtually

We recognize life gets busy. If you’re not always able to come into the office for your appointments, you can schedule a telehealth appointment. We 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.

Avoid Constipation

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 to Help You Heal

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 helping you meet your goals.

Don’t delay your care any longer — make an appointment with AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab today. We’re here to care for the whole you — in body, mind and spirit.

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