PELVIC FLOOR

The pelvic floor muscles are part of the inner unit core musculature. Specifically they are a sling of muscles that attach from the pubic bone to the sacrum, supporting the bladder, uterus, and the rectum.

What causes pelvic floor dysfunction? 

Pelvic floor dysfunction is caused by weak or tight pelvic floor muscles, or some combination thereof. When these muscles are too weak (hypotonic), they contribute to incontinence and organ prolapse. When these muscles are too tight (hypertonic), they may cause pelvic pain or frequency of the bladder and bowels. 

Do I need to Kegel? 

Kegel exercises have long been the classic prescription for pelvic floor dysfunction, however, they are not necessarily the right answer especially when pelvic floor muscles are too tight, rather than unresponsive and weak. You may have muscles that are too tight if you have some of the following symptoms: 

    • Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying
    • Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
    • Pain in your lower back, hips or pelvis
    • Pain during or after intercourse
    • Uncoordinated muscle contractions causing the pelvic floor muscles to spasm

 
If you have any of the above symptoms, Kegel exercises are not the answer! Consultation with a pelvic health physiotherapist will help to provide you with the appropriate treatments and exercises.

What is pelvic health physiotherapy?

Specialized physiotherapy is indicated as the first line of defense for a range of pelvic floor dysfunctions. The research presented by the Crochrane Collaboration (2010) concluded that specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation, which specifically uses internal examination and treatment, should be considered prior to surgical consultation for symptoms of unusual urgency and mixed incontinence. Pelvic floor physiotherapists work with other members of your healthcare team, including your family physician, obstetrician, and urogynecologist. A doctor’s referral is not required for consultation with a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

What conditions are pelvic health physiotherapists specially trained to treat?

    • Post-partum pelvic pain
    • Perinatal complications, including episiotomy problems or tears during delivery
    • Incontinence (stress and urge)
    • Pelvic organ prolapse
    • Dysperineia (painful intercourse)
    • Vaginismus
    • Vulvodynia
    • Pudendal neuralgia
    • Intersitial cystitis

 
Who should I contact if I have questions or want to book an appointment?

Meghan Stapledon
mstapledon@eastlibertyphysiotherapy.com
 

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