Pelvic floor challenges are common during and after pregnancy and with aging, but many are treatable and can be improved or fully resolved with pelvic floor physiotherapy. Pelvic physiotherapy can help you regain control of your bladder or bowels, reduce severity of pelvic organ prolapse, narrow a diastasis rectus abdominus gap, decrease pelvic pain, improve your sexual function and enjoyment, and improve your overall well being.
Common reasons for pelvic floor physiotherapy
- Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help women during any stage of life and even pregnancy. You may want to consider pelvic floor physiotherapy if any of the following items apply to you:
- You have urinary or fecal leakage when laughing, coughing, jumping, running, or any time of increased abdominal pressure
- You urinate frequently (more than 5-8 times daily)
- You have urinary or fecal leakage after suddenly realizing you need to use the bathroom
- You have feelings of heaviness or pressure in your vagina, or you have been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse
- You are preparing for or recovering from a pelvic surgery or c-section
- You have diastasis rectus abdominus (common after a pregnancy)
- You want to reduce your risk of incontinence during or after pregnancy by strengthening your pelvic floor
- You have pelvic pain at rest or with specific activities such as the insertion of a tampon or intercourse
What is involved in a pelvic floor assessment or treatment
Pelvic physiotherapy involves an internal exam performed vaginally and/or rectally, which is important to thoroughly assess things such as the strength and tone of the pelvic floor muscles, your capacity to properly contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles, muscle and connective tissue integrity, and areas of excessive tension or of pain.
A pelvic floor assessment involves many additional components including questions about bladder, bowel, and sexual function, your medical history, your job and leisure activities, the impact of your pelvic concerns on your engagement in activities you care about, stress levels and stress management, eating and exercise habits, and what your hopes and goals are. The strength and range of motion of other body parts may also be assessed.
The findings of the pelvic exam are used to develop a treatment plan to address your concerns. Internal treatment to target your specific needs is usually involved, and other treatment techniques often include a combination of home exercises, relaxation activities, self treatment techniques, and education to help you take charge of your recovery