Most women spend little time thinking about their pelvic floor until something goes wrong. Do you know the signs and symptoms that there could be a problem? Common signs of a pelvic floor disorder include:
- Lower back pain
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Urinary issues, like leaks or the urge to go more often
- Pressure or pain in your pelvis, rectum, or genitals
While Kegel exercises can offer some relief from these issues, some self-help solutions can also do more harm than good.
Read on to learn more about how our experienced team of gynecologists at The Center For Women’s Health in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia can improve your urinary, bowel, and sexual health with pelvic floor physical therapy.
How your pelvic floor works
Your pelvic floor contains muscles, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissues. This sling-like structure functions like a trampoline and supports your bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. Unfortunately, this area can also become stretched, weakened, or damaged, leading to pelvic floor issues, like:
- Pelvic pain
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Sexual dysfunction
Approximately 27% of women between 40 to 59 years of age have pelvic floor disorders. And, because your pelvic floor muscles weaken with age, these numbers jump to include nearly half of women 80 and older.
Finding solutions with pelvic floor physical therapy
Pelvic floor exercises focus on relaxing and tightening the muscles associated with bladder control. While it’s tempting to turn to self-help solutions and Kegel exercises to do this, it can be challenging to target the right muscles with the proper techniques.
However, when you undergo pelvic floor muscle therapy with our team, we help you learn how to identify the right muscles so you perform your exercises properly. With our guidance, you won’t tear, damage, overuse, or overstretch these muscles, whether you do your exercises on your own at home or with your specialist in our office.
A personalized physical therapy program might include a variety of painless techniques designed to restore the strength and function of your pelvic floor, such as:
- Exercises to isolate and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- Biofeedback to help retrain your pelvic floor muscles
- Electrical stimulation to trigger pelvic floor muscle contractions
An additional aspect of pelvic floor physical therapy also involves education, so you can also expect to learn more about your anatomy while improving your overall health and wellness.
What to expect from pelvic floor therapy
We develop each of our pelvic floor therapy programs on a case-by-case basis.
To start, we discuss your personal and medical history as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing. You should be prepared to answer a variety of questions, especially those related to your diet, lifestyle, and bladder and bowel habits. This information can help us gain a better understanding of your pelvic floor dysfunction and how we can help address it.
During your consultation, we also conduct an internal and external evaluation of your pelvic floor. This assessment helps us look for tension or trigger points while also assessing the strength, length, and quality of your pelvic floor.
After your assessment, we discuss our findings and develop a personalized treatment strategy to help manage your symptoms and restore your pelvic floor health. In most cases, women start seeing improvement within four to six weeks.
To see if pelvic floor muscle physical therapy is right for you, contact us by calling your preferred location or requesting an appointment online today.