Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy 

UnityPoint Health – Meriter's physical therapists provide specialized services for women, men, and children. Treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction is provided by physical therapists specially trained in pelvic floor physical therapy. They follow guidelines established by the Section on Women's Health of the American Physical Therapy Association. In addition to pelvic floor therapy, obstetric trained therapists are available for the antepartum and postpartum periods due to challenges unique to the pregnant woman. A variety of conditions affecting the pelvic floor can dramatically impact enjoyment of daily life. Depending on the condition, an individual may endure pain, fatigue, embarrassment or stress. Many people find relief through physical therapy.

On your first visit, you will be asked about your history regarding your complaint. It may also include some paperwork in order to assess daily bladder and bowel habits. You will receive a thorough orthopedic and possibly an internal examination in order to measure the strength, coordination and endurance of the pelvic floor muscles.

  • Women across the lifespan including pregnancy
  • Men
  • Children

Women's Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Spasms or Tightness in the Pelvic Floor

There can be increased tension, spasms or tightness in the pelvic floor. Symptoms of an over-active pelvic floor can include:

  • Pelvic pain including use of tampons, speculum exams and painful intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Tailbone pain
  • Treatments may include:

  • Internal muscle work
  • Biofeedback
  • Relaxation training
  • Stretches, exercises, and posture training

  • Under-Active Pelvic Floor

    The pelvic floor can also be under-active. Pelvic floor weakness/laxity is a loss of muscular support that can result in the dropping of organs, also called prolapse (cystocele, enterocele, rectocele or uterine prolapse). This may lead to pelvic heaviness, pressure of discomfort. Incontinence is the uncontrolled loss of urine, gas or stool and is often a result of weakness. Urinary urgency or frequency can also be treated in pelvic floor PT.

    Treatment to ease and improve these symptoms include:

  • Exercises and posture training
  • Biofeedback
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Behavioral techniques and retraining

  • Obstetric Conditions/Conditions Related to Pregnancy

    Obstetric trained PT's can offer comfort, guidance and treatment for orthopedic problems that may arise during or after pregnancy. They can include:
  • Lower or upper back pain
  • Pain in the pelvic joints (pubic bone, sacroiliac joints)
  • Neck pain
  • Rib pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Painful or tight scar tissue after vaginal delivery or Caesarean Section
  • Diastasis Recti – abdominal separation
  • Guidance for safe return to exercise in pre or post-partum 

  • Treatments may include:

  • Exercises, stretches and posture training
  • Manual techniques including internal muscle work
  • Education on maternity supports and body mechanics

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    *Women considered "high risk" may also benefit from PT interventions. Referral to pelvic floor PT as appropriate.

    Male Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

    Symptoms which may elicit a pelvic floor evaluation can include bowel/bladder leakage, urine retention, urine frequency/urgency and pain located in the pelvis, testicles, or coccyx. Urine leakage is a common problem s/p prostatectomy and physical therapy has been found to be effective.

    Treatments will be individualized and may include:

  • Exercises, stretches and posture training
  • Biofeedback
  • Internal muscle work
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Education in behavioral and habit modifications
  • Pediatric Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

    This can refer to various problems that occur when the pelvic floor muscles are not working properly. The muscles can be over-active and spasm resulting in tightness and weakness or just generally uncoordinated. There are often habitual and behavioral components as well. Symptoms can include daytime bladder/bowel leakage, bedwetting and constipation/encopresis.

    Treatments may include:

  • External biofeedback for pelvic floor re-training
  • Behavioral strategies and habit changes
  • Education on fluid and fiber intake
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Stretches, exercises and posture training