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 care you need. Our partners at PT Solutions offer pelvic floor physical therapy at the Calhoun, Chatsworth and Fort Oglethorpe locations.
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 prolapses, 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
- Frequency or overactive bladder
- Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
- Painful intercourse
- Tailbone pain
- Urinary urge
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. This 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.
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.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy at PT Solutions
Our partners at PT Solutions are dedicated to meeting your physical therapy needs. Emily Durham, PT, DPT, and Lisa Spiker, PT, DPT, OCS, are certified pelvic floor therapists and serve the Calhoun, Chatsworth and Fort Oglethorpe locations.
PT Solutions of Calhoun
431 GA-53, Suite 250
PT Solutions of Chatsworth
106 Hospital Dr, Suite 2
PT Solutions of Fort Oglethorpe
227 Parkway Dr
Fort Oglethorpe, GA