Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Approximately 80 percent of women will experience urinary incontinence during their lifetime. A large percentage of these women will not seek help either due to embarrassment or because they fear having a surgical procedure. Difficulties with urination and bowel movements are common following childbirth, and while they will often improve spontaneously, some women continue to be bothered with these problems and do not seek help. There are many studies demonstrating a significant improvement in quality of life following physical therapy for incontinence. In fact, many women who receive physical therapy are able to avoid surgery and have satisfactory improvement in their symptoms. In addition, many times pelvic and abdominal pain is a result of a musculoskeletal problem rather than a “dropped bladder” or prolapsing uterus. Pelvic floor physical therapy may help to successfully ameliorate musculoskeletal pain centered in the pelvis and lower abdomen.

Q: What is the “pelvic floor”?
A: It is the bowl of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue at the bottom of the pelvic bones, and includes the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum.

Q: What is pelvic floor physical therapy?
A: It is a specifically designed program of exercises, postures, massage, biofeedback, electrical muscle or nerve stimulation tailored to the individual to address their particular complaint.

Q: I’ve already been doing “Kegel” exercises. Why would I need to have a physical therapist to do those?
A: Physical therapy is much more than “Kegel” exercises. One might compare it to going into a gym and lifting weights without having a trainer explaining proper technique and equipment use. Without understanding proper technique, the desired results may not be achieved, or worse, improper technique may cause an injury. Physical therapists have many helpful tools at their disposal to correctly train the muscles of the pelvic floor. They are also trained to evaluate mechanical problems that need to be addressed in order to get the best results.

Q: Can’t I just go to my local physical therapist?
A: Some physical therapists have an interest in treating disorders of the pelvic floor and spend extra time learning about it. Some physical therapists may be uncomfortable treating women for problems in this part of their anatomy. Others, while they may have an interest in incontinence, may not have adequate training to evaluate and treat pelvic floor problems. We have a pelvic floor physical therapist who comes to our offices specifically to provide this specialized care for our patients. In this way, we hope to provide optimal care in a convenient location. We offer these services in Jupiter, Flagler, and Wellington offices.

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