The pelvic floor is a set of muscles at the base of the abdomen. It supports the bladder, the rectum, and the reproductive organs. Issues with the pelvic floor sometimes develop due to age, weight, a history of pelvic injury or pelvic surgery, or a history of having given birth. Genetics can also play a factor. Pelvic floor physical therapy near me can help to correct these issues.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Issues
The muscles of the pelvic floor control the urinary tract and rectum. Therefore, when there are issues with the pelvic floor, it can cause bowel and bladder problems. Pelvic floor muscles also support and control the reproductive organs, which can lead to sexual dysfunction.
Sometimes the muscles of the pelvic floor are too tight or do not relax properly. If this is the case, it can cause constipation, difficulty or pain while urinating, frequent urge to use the bathroom, and unexplained pain in the lower abdomen, which may include the anus and genitals, or the low back. In women, or those assigned female at birth, it may cause pain during sexual intercourse.
Another possible issue is spasms of the muscles of the pelvic floor. This can be painful and cause a pattern of stopping and starting while urinating.
Sometimes the issue is that the muscles of the pelvic floor have become weakened. If this is the case, it can cause incontinence of the bowel or bladder, in which urine or feces leak out. In men and people assigned male at birth, weak pelvic floor muscles can cause erectile dysfunction. Severe weakness of the pelvic floor can lead to organ prolapse of the rectum or the uterus (if present). Organ prolapse causes the internal organs to protrude from the vagina or the anus.
Physical therapy Louisville KY may be able to resolve many pelvic floor issues on its own, though severe dysfunction that leads to organ prolapse may require surgery to correct. Even if surgery is required, physical therapy may plan an important role in postoperative recovery.
How PT Can Help Alleviate Symptoms
Pelvic floor dysfunction can mimic symptoms of other, more serious conditions, such as prostatitis in men (AMAB). Therefore, a person experiencing symptoms should receive a diagnosis from either a doctor or a physical therapist.
Physical therapy for pelvic floor issues may include exercises that target the muscles of the lower abdomen. For example, Kegel exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor to strengthen them and improve their coordination. A physical therapist near me can provide instruction on how to do Kegel exercises correctly.
Biofeedback may be used alone or in combination with Kegel exercises. This involves placing external electrodes on the affected muscles, or using an internal probe, to measure the pelvic floor muscles’ relaxation and tension. This information can be helpful in determining the effectiveness of the Kegel exercises.
Physical therapy for pelvic floor issues could include external or internal treatments. However, physical therapists understand that the latter may be uncomfortable for many people and often start with external treatments until the patient has built up a level of trust with the therapist and familiarity with the process.
Patients can either find physical therapists on their own or ask for a recommendation from a primary care physician.