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5 signs that it’s time to start physical therapy for your pelvic floor



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Pelvic floor health is important for every woman’s overall well-being, but what is your pelvic floor and how does it impact your day-to-day life? The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located between the tailbone (the coccyx) and the pubic bone within the pelvis. These muscles support several important organs and systems in the body, including:

  • Bowels.
  • Bladder.
  • Uterus.
  • Vagina.
  • Urethra.

If you have a healthy pelvic floor, you’re less likely to experience prolapse (a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that causes organs such as the bladder, uterus and vagina to drop) or incontinence of the bladder and bowels. Healthy pelvic floor muscles also contribute to pain-free sexual activity and easier childbirth and post-pregnancy recovery. 

Your pelvic floor can be weakened due to a number of reasons, including pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, genetics and even menopause. If you are experiencing issues with your bladder, bowels or sexual activity, you may have a pelvic floor disorder. This disorder includes weak pelvic floor muscles, tears in the pelvic floor or prolapsed pelvic organs. If these problems become severe enough, you may need to seek out physical therapy for your pelvic floor.

Studies have shown that 1 in 3 women will experience some kind of pelvic floor disorder during their life, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms — and what to do about them. 

Signs of a pelvic floor disorder

There are several signs that can help to determine if you have a disorder severe enough to need physical therapy for your pelvic floor. Your doctor may be able to diagnose you with a pelvic floor disorder if you exhibit one or more of these signs:

  • Stress incontinence — A small amount of urine leaks out when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running due to weak muscles.
  • Urge incontinence — An immediate urge to urinate is followed by the inability to reach the toilet in time due to weak muscles.
  • Prolapse — A distinct bulge may protrude at the vaginal opening. This bulge is the result of a pelvic organ prolapse, where weak pelvic floor muscles cause organs such as the bladder, uterus and vagina to drop.
  • Flatulence — Passing wind from either the anus or vagina while bending over or lifting may occur due to weak muscles.
  • Infections — Recurrent urinary tract infections or thrush may occur due to tight or tensed muscles, which can prevent the ability to fully empty the bladder.

These and other signs are all things your doctor can use to determine whether you’re suffering from a pelvic floor disorder. Your doctor may require a physical examination and other in-office tests to determine whether you have a pelvic floor disorder. 

If you are diagnosed with a pelvic floor disorder, your doctor may recommend pelvic floor physical therapy, which can help strengthen the muscles contributing to these signs. In severe cases, you may need surgery to correct the issue.

Symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder

If you have a pelvic floor disorder, there are many symptoms that may not be visible to anyone except you. Here’s a list of common symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder that may require pelvic floor physical therapy:

  • Reduced sensation in the vagina.
  • A feeling of heaviness in the vagina.
  • A sensation of heaviness or dragging in the pelvis or back.
  • Pain in and around the vulva.
  • Pain with sex.
  • Inability to orgasm.

While these symptoms are more difficult to diagnose, they are important indicators that your pelvic floor may not be functioning as it should. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should bring them up at your next doctor appointment. Your physician may confirm a diagnosis.

How physical therapy for your pelvic floor disorder can help

Many women are so used to the symptoms of their pelvic floor disorder that they’ve accepted them as a part of life. But a pelvic floor disorder isn’t normal for anyone. You don’t have to live with these inconvenient and painful symptoms. 

You might think the only answer is invasive surgery, but that’s not always the case. Physical therapy for your pelvic floor can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and regain control over your life.

At REPAIR SI, our goal is to work with you to create a unique treatment plan designed for your needs. Our highly trained specialists will try to help you get to the root of your issues and create a pelvic floor physical therapy plan designed specifically to fit your needs. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.