15 Feb Physical Therapy For Pelvic Floor Disorder
The pelvic floor is the area that connects all the pelvic bones and supports the internal organs. It is comprised of various muscles, nerves and connective tissue. The pelvic floor functions as an integral part of a woman’s mobility, balance, reproduction and digestion. In some cases, these muscles and connective tissues become problematic. This is known as pelvic floor disorder.
Understanding Pelvic Floor Disorder
According to the National Institutes of Health, a pelvic floor disorder occurs when the pelvic muscles are weakened or injured. This can manifest in several ways. In some cases, there may be organ prolapse as the pelvic muscles can no longer support the internal organs. Many women who suffer from pelvic floor disorders have bladder or bowel problems because the muscles that control urination and defecation are affected. Specific symptoms can include pelvic heaviness, vaginal ache, pressure in the pelvis, leaking urine, frequent urination, leaky stool, constipation and pain. Many women are embarrassed by these problems, but pelvic floor disorder is not uncommon. Nearly 25 percent of women have a pelvic floor disorder. The risk increases with age.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Pelvic Floor Disorder
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis for pelvic floor disorder. The symptoms are often difficult to trace, and it is a diagnosis of exclusion. However, women with pelvic floor disorders should know that there is reason to have hope. Physical therapy is an effective and noninvasive way to treat pelvic floor disorders. The process works by strengthening and toning the muscles within the pelvic floor. The exercises may also focus on the hips in order to provide greater stability to the area. Many of these exercises are easy to perform for people of all ages and athletic backgrounds. Even patients who are suffering from severe incontinence can usually see improvements with pelvic floor physical therapy.
What To Expect During Your Physical Therapy Appointments
When you start physical therapy for pelvic floor disorder, expect to receive a thorough assessment. This assessment will gauge your range of motion, pelvic alignment, pressure points and more. The physical therapist will carefully assess each muscle while discussing the nature of your specific symptoms. Some people can find this process uncomfortable because of the location of the pelvic floor. However, this assessment is an essential part of determining the best exercises for your situation.
Your treatments will focus on strengthening key muscles within your pelvic region. Other, more general core exercises are also likely to be incorporated. By improving your core strength through exercises like planks, squats and lunges, you can create more balance within your pelvic region. This can help provide the stability you may lack. The exercises may additionally focus on muscles within the buttocks and hips.
You may also learn how to do Kegel exercises. Many women learn about Kegel exercises when they are pregnant, but these minute muscle contractions can be a critical part of treating pelvic floor disorder. These exercises require women to tighten and relax very specific parts of the pelvic floor. They can be tricky to figure out at first, but mastering Kegel exercises can be an important step in managing your condition. Kegel exercises are often used to help with urine incontinence in particular.
Prognosis for Pelvic Floor Disorder
There is no cure for pelvic floor disorder, but regular exercises and support from a physical therapist with training in pelvic issues can provide palpable relief. When looking for a physical therapist, be sure to pick someone who is fully trained and licensed. You want someone with quality techniques and a personalized approach in order to give you the best chance at recovery. Pelvic floor disorder can be debilitating. Physical therapy can provide you with the relief you deserve.