Treating Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is the inability of the Pelvic Floor muscles and connective tissue to fully support the organs of the pelvis. This can lead to impaired function of these organs and may include conditions such as Urinary/Fecal Incontinence, Pelvic Pain, and Pelvic Organ Prolapse. 

What is Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation? 

Research suggests that increasing numbers of women are experiencing disorders associated with the pelvic floor such as urinary incontinence and pain. Despite the prevalence of these conditions, women don't always bring them up with their doctor and may think such issues are a normal part of aging. Pelvic floor rehabilitation is a type of Physical Therapy that uses specific strengthening and conditioning programs, manual therapy techniques, bladder retraining, and education to manage pain and dysfunction of the pelvic floor. 

What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?

The muscles of the pelvic floor can become either weak/underactive or overactive, both of which may lead to pelvic floor dysfunction such as pain or incontinence. Conditions leading to pelvic floor dysfunction may include pregnancy and childbirth, stress, postural abnormalities, heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity, frequent straining or constipation, certain medications, advancing age, and co-existing health conditions, as well as history of physical or emotional abuse, surgical trauma, and pelvic infection/disease. 

Mackenzie, as a pelvic floor physical therapist treats patients experiencing:

  • Accidental leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising
  • The need to urinate frequently or having a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Organ prolapse or feelings of "falling out"
  • Pre and post-partum related issues including back pain, sciatica, and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles) 
  • Sexual dysfunction or pain with intercourse
  • Scar tissue concerns

What to expect at your first visit?

Your first appointment will include a thorough review of your current symptoms as well as your health history and lifestyle, inducing questions about your eating, drinking, voiding, and sexual habits as they relate to your symptoms. The physical therapist will then assess your posture and evaluate the muscles of your pelvic floor, hips, and core for factors such as strength, endurance, coordination, tenderness and flexibility. This may include an external and/or internal exam depending on your comfort/ preference. Depending on the results of the examination the Physical Therapist can determine the best course of treatment to meet your specific needs and goals. 

Diagnostic and treatment procedures:

  • Activation and strengthening of muscles of the pelvic floor, hip, and trunk
  • Postural education and functional training
  • Manual therapy
  • Bladder diary
  • Behavioral techniques and bladder retraining
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Biofeedback 
  • Home exercise program