Whether you are trying to become pregnant, are expecting, have children or haven’t had children, every woman can benefit from working with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist! My goal as a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is to help you resolve and/or prevent the common pelvic floor dysfunctions that many of us have been told are a normal part pregnancy, aging or simply just being a woman (which is FALSE!) Pelvic Health Physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat the pelvic floor. I also assess how your pelvic floor muscles work together with the rest of your body and not just in isolation. Pelvic floor rehab is not just about Kegels!
So what is the pelvic floor anyways?
The pelvic floor (PF) consists of nerves, fascia and three layers of muscles that line your pelvis starting from the pubic bone to the tail bone (vertically front to back) and sitz bones (horizontally side to side). They have many functions including supporting your organs (especially your bladder/uterus/rectum), stabilizing your low back/pelvis, sexual functions, and opening and closing your bowel and bladder.
The pelvic floor has several functions which include:
- Supporting the organs sitting above it, most directly, the uterus, the bladder, and the rectum.
- Controlling the function of the bowel and bladder: when you urinate or have a bowel movement the PF muscles relax and allow opening and easy passage; when there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as when you cough, sneeze or laugh, the PF contracts and tightens to prevent possible leakage.
- Sexual function: Functional strength of the pelvic floor muscles allows for orgasm and erection of the clitoris. Alternatively, excessive tension in the PF can contribute to pain with, or following intercourse.
- Stability: Because the PF attaches to your pelvis, hips and into parts of your back it also functions as an important part of your core and the muscles that provide stability. The PF co-activates and functions with the other muscles (transverses abdominus, multifidus, & diaphragm) that make up your core. The PF should absolutely be part of any core training program!
- Sump-pump function: the PF helps to pump your blood and lymph back to the heart. A loss in this function can contribute to congestion or swelling in the pelvic area.
What is a physiotherapist going to do about my pelvic floor dysfunction?
As a Women’s and Pelvic Health Physiotherapist I have taken specific post graduate training including using internal and external hands-on techniques to evaluate the tone/strength and general function of your pelvic floor muscles. I assess your ability to contract and relax these muscles, how they work with the other core muscles (transversus, multifidus, and diaphragm) and how they are supporting and working with the rest of your body, especially during activity. I also assess the strength and function of your back and lower body muscles as they can often play a role in pelvic floor pain and or dysfunction, as they’re all connected!
Common conditions that I often treat and can help prevent include:
- Stress incontinence (leaking when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise)
- Diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
- Urinary frequency & urinary urgency and its accompanying incontinence (not making it to the washroom on time)
- Pelvic orga
- n prolapse (uterine prolapse, cystocele and rectocele)
- Low back, pelvic girdle or tailbone pain
- Internal pelvic pain (including pain during intercourse, vaginisimus, endometriosis, and interstitial cystitis)
- Musculoskeletal pains and/or injuries
Incontinence is NO laughing matter, and it’s not something you should have to live with! Neither are any of the other pelvic floor dysfunctions! If you experience any of the above listed pelvic floor symptoms, seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist might be right for you!