Women's Health Physical Therapy Services
Physical Therapy Designed for Women
At UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, we offer comprehensive women's health physical therapy programs for various pelvic health issues.
Women's Health Physical Therapy at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
At UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, we understand that women have specific health needs. We offer physical therapy for women at six convenient locations throughout the Des Moines metro. Talk to your primary care provider or OB/GYN today about seeing a women's health physical therapist.
Don't have a primary care provider or OB/GYN? No problem. Please see our primary care page for providers currently accepting new patients.
Conditions Treated in Women's Physical Therapy
As a woman, you're likely juggling many things, from work, family life to social obligations, it can be hard to find a moment to check in on your health. However, when health issues like incontinence or pelvic pain begin to creep in, it's important to find treatment options that put you in control.
Our women's health care experts treat issues such as the following:
- Incontinence. Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine or stool. Incontinence can be caused by pelvic floor muscle weakness, which then results in muscles being unable to support the bladder, uterus or rectum. For this condition, treatment options include exercise, biofeedback, posture and movement education and electrical stimulation.
- Pelvic Pain. Health conditions such as vaginismus, vulvodynia, vestibulitis, interstitial cysts, coccydynia or anismus can cause pain in the vaginal or rectal area. A woman may experience pain while sitting, during intercourse or general pain in the lower abdomen and hips.
- Pelvic Prolapse. When the bladder, uterus or rectum falls below the level of the pelvic floor muscles. Women may feel heaviness, pain or a lump sensation because that area's muscles, connective tissues and ligaments can't support those organs. Treatment options include pelvic floor and core strengthening as well as posture and body mechanics-training to avoid surgery. Furthermore, physical therapy can also be used before and after surgery to prevent the condition from reoccurring.
- Pregnancy-Related Pain. Pregnant women may experience pain due to changes in posture, weight or increased hormones. Not only are these women more susceptible to injuries during pregnancy, but related orthopedic problems may continue or begin after delivery. Treatment includes maternity support, manual therapy, strengthening and retraining techniques. If a woman has a high-risk pregnancy, often times she will be assigned to bed rest. For pregnancy-related pain, the woman's physical therapist will design a program of exercises, positioning and relaxation.
- Osteoporosis and Compression Fractures. Osteoporosis is a condition in which a woman's bones become thin and brittle and can break more easily. A therapy program geared for osteoporosis patients includes instruction in strengthening and balance, proper body mechanics, posture and exercise. Our physical therapists can also recommend braces or orthotics as well as treatments like moist heat and electrical stimulation to relieve pain.
Meet our Women's Health Physical Therapy Providers and Therapists
Shelley Dreibelbeis, PT
Shelley is a graduate of the University of Iowa Physical Therapy Program. Shelley's clinical interests include women's health specializing in the treatment of incontinence, pregnancy-related pain and pelvic pain.
Tarra Richard, PT, MPT
Tarra is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a BS in exercise science, and she completed her Master of Physical Therapy from the University of Iowa. Tarra developed the Women's Health/Pelvic Rehab at UnityPoint Health - Quad Cities before transferring to UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. She enjoys working with pregnancy-related pain, urinary and bowel incontinence, painful intercourse and pelvic pain.
Peggy Scott, PT
Peggy is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica, and her interests include women's health, specifically pelvic pain, incontinence, painful intercourse, osteoporosis and pregnancy-related pain. She has been practicing women's health for over 20 years.
Kristina Foster, CMPT, DPT
Kristina received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Iowa. She is a Certified Manual Physical Therapist with a special interest in women's health and related pelvic, hip and back pain. She also enjoys working with those with painful intercourse and urinary incontinence.
Mindy Sullivan-Lo, DPT