Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic floor therapy helps patients struggling with incontinence or leakage, urinary frequency issues, constipation, urgency or pain by focusing on relaxation or strengthening and improving recruitment of the pelvic muscles. The pelvic floor is made up of ligaments and muscles that provide support for organs, bathroom control and sexual experience. The pelvic floor is present in both men and women, but it is structured differently. These therapy sessions are unique to pelvic floor dysfunction, and include the use of strengthening exercise, quieting/relaxation techniques and lifestyle modifications. Pelvic floor trained therapists work with youth and adult patients, male and female, for pelvic floor therapy.
What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
We work with patients according to their specific needs, whether it's to improve strength and motor recruitment of the pelvic floor muscles, or to encourage relaxation of muscles due to pain or difficulty with urination or emptying the bladder. We'll improve engagement or relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles through education, strengthening, stretching, manual therapy, neurofascial release, ultrasound, electric stimulation, biofeedback, and instruction with vaginal weights, vaginal dilators and/or wands.
Signs You May Need Pelvic Floor Therapy
Some common signs and symptoms patients notice before pelvic floor therapy include:
- Dribbling/leaking with coughing, sneezing, physical activity
- Feeling like you need to use the bathroom more frequently
- Frequency/incontinence is starting to limit your social life or job activities
- Prostate surgery or enlarged prostate
- Noticing changes in your bladder health
- Any other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction
What to Expect During Pelvic Floor Therapy
Before a pelvic floor therapy session, your provider may send you paperwork to keep a brief diary, leading up to your first session, to track number of trips to the bathroom or leaks in a day.
During a treatment session, patients will work with a therapist on exercises specific to the pelvic floor dysfunction, as well as hip and core strengthening. The team also utilizes techniques like diaphragmatic breathing for calming the nervous system – particularly seen in cases of pelvic pain, overactive bladder or urge incontinence.
We have the ability to utilize biofeedback, which uses sensors to track muscle activity and the therapists and patient can ensure they are activating the correct muscles. Patients are able to view the computer screen and see how their muscles are working, while completing their exercises. Patients are fully clothed, and the sensors can be applied externally or internally to allow the patient and therapist to track improvement over time. Patients will be in a private treatment room for their entire session and will continue to see the same therapist for each appointment.
Your pelvic floor therapist may also recommend relaxation exercise, stretches or muscle-strengthening techniques to use at home, like Kegel exercises, as well as adopting lifestyle changes to ensure success long term.
Find a Location
Many, but not all, of our therapy and rehabilitation locations offer pelvic floor therapy. A referral may be required for pelvic floor therapy. Talk to your provider to learn if pelvic floor therapy may be beneficial and learn about offerings near you.