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Physical Therapy and Your Pelvic Health

Answers to Embarrassing Pelvic Health Questions

by Margaret Steck, MPTLeave a Comment

Dysfunction in the muscles of the pelvic floor cause a variety of problems and are actually quite common. Certain physical therapists are trained in treating pelvic health and are ready to help! Here is a list of some of the questions that may seem embarrassing to talk about if you think you’re experiencing pelvic-related problems.

  • Do you experience the need to urinate often, even when your bladder isn’t full?
  • Do you experience difficulty starting the flow of urine, “spraying” of urine, or an intermittent urine stream?
  • Do you feel as if you haven’t emptied your bladder fully after urinating?
  • Do you regularly get up more than once per night due to the urge to urinate?
  • Do you leak on the way to the restroom, or leak with exercise, cough or sneeze?
  • Do you leak as your car pulls into the driveway, or when you hear the sound of running water?
  • Do you experience pelvic pain or lower abdominal pain?
  • Do you experience pelvic pain which effects your ability to engage in sexual intercourse?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, pelvic floor physical therapy may be appropriate for you.

The pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscle and tissue that extend from your pubic bone in front to your tailbone at the back. Just like the muscles in our arms, legs or spine, pelvic floor muscles can become weak, adaptively shortened (tight) or both! This can happen for a variety of reasons, including child birth, hormonal changes with aging, urogenital surgeries, diabetes, obesity and repetitive stress. Physical therapists trained in treating the pelvic floor can address muscle weakness, increased muscle tone, and improper muscle coordination. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be managed with education, postural awareness, breathing techniques, muscle strengthening and stretching, relaxation, and massage. Physical therapy for the pelvic floor is more than just kegels! Pelvic floor physical therapists assess and address muscles of pelvic floor, but they also consider and treat other factors that may contribute to your condition such as muscles of the hips, low back, and abdomen. Often when treating pelvic floor dysfunction, other related conditions such as low back pain or hip pain will improve as well!

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I often see patients who experienced symptoms that worsened over months or even years. Often, patients start seeing results and positive changes in just a few weeks, or even after a single session! I regularly hear my patient’s say, “I had no idea that a physical therapist could help me.” Too often, people are too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms with medical practitioners, or even with their friends. It’s time to break the cycle.

June 9th is “National Call Your Doctor Day,” a day where you are encouraged to speak with your health care provider about pelvic floor concerns. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as a treatment option.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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