Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: How Does PT Help?

Are you currently experiencing low back pain, hip pain, or stomach pains? Have you experienced urinary leakage after coughing, sneezing or laughing? If you answered yes to either one of these, you are not alone. There are many people who are noticing signs of dysfunction in their pelvic floor muscles and convince themselves this is normal. Many people will even find ways to self-treat in order to prevent this awkward conversation with healthcare providers. It’s easy to convince yourself you drank too much water or just didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. What you may not know is that there are physical therapists who specialize in treating patients with pelvic floor involvement.

Approximately 1 out of every 5 American experiences some type of pelvic floor dysfunction? Additionally, 1 out of every 4 women aged 18 years or older experiences urinary leakage. Research shows two thirds of men and women between 30 and 70 years old have never talked about their bladder health with their physicians. Many people are concerned signs of pelvic floor dysfunction can mean it’s something more than the muscles not working properly. In reality, there are a lot of muscles involved in the pelvic floor which help us all to walk around, sneeze, cough, run and jump without having to run to the bathroom. Stress, diets, pregnancies, and/or prior surgeries can contribute to dysfunction in these muscles. This is where physical therapists specialized in this area can help.

You may be wondering why physical therapists are trained to treat an area which is is so intimate. Aren’t physical therapists trained to treat problems with muscles? Treating symptoms such as urinary leakage can likely be due to problems with the muscles, in which physical therapists are most certainly trained to treat. Many people who have been diagnosed with IBS, constipation, endometriosis, or frequent UTIs have shown positive responses to pelvic floor physical therapy. These physical therapists will talk to you to find out what symptoms you have been experiencing, and do as much of an assessment you are comfortable with. They will also assist with training your muscles to work properly, begin strengthening them and then teach you how to continue to work these muscles properly at home in order to prevent you from continuing to have these symptoms.