Pelvic health can be a difficult topic for many people to discuss – It can be embarrassing and confusing and therefore lead individuals to simply accept things as they are. Furthermore, our society tends to discourage discussion of this topic due to the sensitivity of the matter, causing further uncertainty and a lack of adequate knowledge regarding what is or is not normal. The reality is that pelvic floor dysfunction is common, but it is not normal, and there is something you can do about it. Due to a lack of awareness and a lack of access to providers, many women and men have lived with these issues believing that there was no treatment and that what they were experiencing was “normal”.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor muscles sit within the pelvis between the tailbone and the pubic bone and provide organ support, promote bladder and bowel control, support the spine and pelvis and optimize sexual and reproductive health.
Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Normal?
Although it becomes more common with age, pelvic floor dysfunction is not a normal part of aging. Nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States are affected by pelvic floor dysfunction. The frequency of pelvic floor dysfunction increases with age, with 40% of women affected between 60 and 79 years old and 50% of women over 80 years old affected. It is estimated that the prevalence of pelvic floor dysfunction is 4% in males, although it is believed that this number is underestimated secondary to a lack of adequate literature available and to underreporting of actual, representative data.
What is Pelvic Health (Pelvic Floor) Physical Therapy?
Pelvic health physical therapy is a sub-specialty of physical therapy and encompasses a treatment approach that provides a structured, effective and safe rehabilitation of the region based upon impairments noted upon examination by your physical therapist. The goals of treatment are to alleviate pain, weakness and dysfunction and get you back to doing what you love most, symptom-free! Your physical therapist will complete a thorough evaluation to include in-depth questioning regarding your personal history and symptoms and a comprehensive orthopedic and pelvic-specific examination to develop a multimodal, individualized treatment approach to address what you've been experiencing and to enable you to regain your quality of life. Your physical therapist will work in conjunction with your medical provider to ensure that you receive the best treatment available.
How Can a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist Help You?
Navigating through problems related to pelvic floor dysfunction can feel overwhelming, and many people struggle to find helpful information and the correct medical professional from whom to seek help. Pelvic health physical therapy is a specialty in the field of physical therapy that works primarily with the muscles and surrounding structures that support our internal organs. An evaluation by a pelvic health specialist can often play a crucial role in finding and treating the potential musculoskeletal impairments which may be contributing and assisting patients in determining the best course of action to achieve long-term results. According to our current body of literature, pelvic health physical therapy is recommended as a first-line remedy for many disorders of the pelvic region and has been shown to be an effective, non-invasive treatment approach.
For more information and to find out if pelvic health physical therapy is right for you, please give us a call! Or, click here to take a look at some common conditions we treat!
Busby, Sabina. “Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Is More Common than You Think and There Is Something You Can Do about It.” APTA Pelvic Health, 19 Mar. 2019, aptapelvichealth.org/2019/03/19/pelvic-floor-dysfunction-is-more-common-than-you-think-and-there-is-something-you-can-do-about-it/. Accessed 22 Jan. 2023.