Many people assume that pelvic floor therapy is only about doing Kegel exercises. Let me tell you that is not the whole truth. Kegels may actually worsen the problem if someone has a dysfunction due to having tight pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic health is an extremely important part of our overall wellbeing and many suffer from a dysfunction. Problem is, no one talks about it and most health-professionals don’t even ask about it.
Internationally, pelvic floor therapy is considered an important component of pre and post partum care and it is customary for women who undergo vaginal delivery to see a therapist.
Why is the pelvic floor so important?
The pelvic floor muscles form the based of the group muscles referred to as your ‘core’. They work with your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and diaphragm to stabilize and support your spine, and to support the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, ovaries, and bowels) and maintain control of them.
Without proper functioning of pelvic floor muscles, urination, bowel movements, and sexual function may be affected and pain may be experienced in the pelvis, lower back, and hip areas.
What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
A pelvic floor therapist has specialized training in assessing and treatment pelvic floor dysfunctions through the use of:
- Manual therapy including soft tissue massage, stretching, and mobilization
- Exercise program to strengthen, stretch, and
- Breathing techniques to ensure proper movement of pelvic floor
What can a Pelvic Floor Therapist treat?
Pelvic floor dysfunctions can lead to various symptoms and conditions that affect both men and women, including:
- Urinary incontinence
- Bowel incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse/bulging of pelvic floor organs
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Dyspareunia (pain during intercourse or orgasm)
- Vaginismus or vulvodynia
- Chronic prostatitis
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pregnancy-related pelvic, pubic, or low back pain
- And much more!
Research on Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic floor therapy has some of the highest quality research evidence to support its use in the treatment and prevention of stress and urge incontinence (Cochrane Review 2010 – Grade A evidence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091581).
In addition, a Randomized Clinical Trial demonstrated that internal pelvic floor myofascial work in chronic bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis) was effective in 59% of patients (Journal of Urology 2012 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351550/ .
It really can be a life-changing form of therapy for those who experience issues! I have done my training through Pelvic Health Solutions in Ontario and am able to offer pelvic floor therapy to patients.