Therapy to Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles and Relieve Pelvic Pain

Pelvic Floor Therapy

If you’re a woman struggling with pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, endometriosis, or urinary incontinence, specialized physical therapy may help relieve your symptoms. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a non-surgical treatment to help treat pelvic floor dysfunction.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor consists of a layer of muscles and connective tissue that stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone. Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowel, rectum, and prostate in men, and the bladder, bowel, rectum, and uterus in women.

Strong pelvic floor muscles provide optimal support for pelvic organs, assisting in healthy function. Weak muscles contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, including incontinence, chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), and prolapse (displacement) of a pelvic organ.

What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction may be related to one or more of the following:

  • Weight gain during pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Vaginal childbirth
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic coughing
  • Weightlifting
  • High impact exercise like running or jumping
  • Aging and menopause

Pelvic floor exercises and behavioral changes can help strengthen pelvic muscles and improve organ function.

What conditions respond best to pelvic floor physical therapy?

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy can help women who struggle with:
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Difficulty urinating or moving the bowels
  • Painful intercourse

How do I know if I’m a candidate for pelvic floor therapy?

You may be a candidate for pelvic floor therapy if you have any of the conditions listed above or other pelvic problems. This type of women’s health physical therapy can be used in conjunction with medication and surgery. Or you may choose pelvic floor therapy in place of other treatments. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and if pelvic floor physical therapy is right for you.

Pelvic Floor Treatment Options

At Penn Highlands Physical Therapy, this type of physical therapy for women involves several techniques, including:

  • Exercises to help relax or strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Biofeedback, in which sensors record pelvic floor muscle activity for patients to see how their muscles respond to exercise
  • Manual therapy to help with blood flow and to stretch and release connective tissue in the pelvic region
  • Patient education about the pelvic floor and its functions

At Penn Highlands Life's Journey OB/GYN, our staff offers an exceptional level of expertise in all areas of women's health, including pelvic floor disorders. Treatment approaches may include:

  • Medications to keep your bowel movements soft and regular
  • Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Biofeedback to help you learn which muscles contract to strengthen the pelvic floor
  • Physical therapy to learn postural exercises, relaxation techniques, and diaphragmatic breathing
  • Use of weighted vaginal cones
  • Electrical stimulation therapy to strengthen pelvic floor muscles via painless electrical impulses which cause muscles to contract and release

Symptoms may also be improved by practicing self-care and mind-body healing activities such as meditation, acupuncture, relaxation exercises, and yoga.

Pelvic floor therapy is a painless treatment option that can significantly improve symptoms, often in a relatively short period of time.

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