The Prevalence and Impact of Pelvic Floor Problems
Pelvic floor problems have affected many people, yet they are under-recognized and not sufficiently managed. Pelvic floor issues can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment for many people, but they don’t have to be. Physiotherapy can play a vital role in addressing these issues and helping individuals regain control of their bodies.
The pelvic floor muscles, like all muscles in the body, can become weak, tight, or imbalanced leading to a range of problems such as incontinence, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, or pelvic organ prolapse. Physiotherapy can significantly help strengthen and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles, reduce pain, and improve overall function. With the help of a skilled pelvic floor physiotherapist, individuals can say goodbye to pelvic floor problems and regain their confidence.
The importance of addressing pelvic floor issues
Healthy pelvic floor muscles silently function and perform their job with no interruptions, and most of us do not take steps to ensure their function and health. As a result, some individuals are unaware of its existence until they start experiencing issues such as incontinence or pelvic pain.
It is common to think that it is normal to have urinary leakage after childbirth or is an inevitable part of ageing, and there is not much we can do about these issues. However, pelvic floor problems can significantly impact a person’s quality of life with various added physical and emotional symptoms.
Ignoring these issues or hoping they will go away on their own can lead to further issues and a decline in overall well-being. Addressing pelvic floor problems at the earliest is essential to maintaining the quality of life.
Pelvic floor problems can include:
- Pelvic Pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Urge urinary incontinence
- Stress and urge incontinence / mixed incontinence
- Overflow incontinence
- Functional incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse
Common causes of pelvic floor problems
Understanding the common causes of pelvic floor problems is the first step in addressing these issues and restoring pelvic floor health.
Some of the most common causes of pelvic floor issues can include:
- Hormonal changes with menopause
- Constipation and straining to have a bowel movement can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
- Chronic coughing, as in the case of smokers or those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can cause pelvic floor muscle weakness.
Pelvic floor muscles are essential to maintaining pelvic floor health, and when they become weak, tight, or imbalanced, they can lead to many pelvic problems. By understanding the common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction, individuals can take steps to prevent or address these issues and restore pelvic floor health.
The benefits of physiotherapy for pelvic floor problems
Physiotherapy can be important in addressing pelvic floor problems and restoring pelvic floor health. With a focus on strengthening and coordinating the pelvic floor muscles, we can help with reducing pain and discomfort, improving bladder and bowel control, and enhancing sexual function. In addition, Physiotherapy can help individuals reclaim their physical and emotional well-being.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy also offers a unique chance to integrate pelvic exercises into an active fitness program, combining fitness and incontinence training for athletes and active patients.
Strengthening and coordination of pelvic floor muscles:
Physical therapy can help to strengthen and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles, which are essential to maintaining pelvic floor health. Using specific exercises and techniques, a physiotherapist can help improve muscle tone, strength, and control and reduce the risk of incontinence during any physical exertion, including exercises, cough or sneezing, relieve pelvic pain and other pelvic problems.
Reducing pain and discomfort:
Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with pelvic floor problems through a combination of manual therapy and exercises. Manual therapy techniques can help to reduce tension and tightness in the pelvic floor muscles to reduce pain, while exercises can help to improve muscle strength and coordination.
Improving bladder and bowel control:
Physiotherapy can help improve bladder and bowel control by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, improving coordination, and reducing muscle spasms during bladder and bowel movements.
Enhancing sexual function:
Physio can also address pelvic floor muscle imbalances and reduce pain and discomfort during a sexual function to help reclaim intimacy and relationship satisfaction.
How can pelvic floor therapists help with pelvic issues?
Physical therapists specialize in treating issues related to the pelvic floor and use various methods to help improve core stability and manage any urinary issues, bowel movements, and sexual function. These methods include exercises to increase pelvic floor muscle control and myofascial and trigger point release therapy to loosen restricted muscle and joint function and reduce pain. In addition, Biofeedback is used to retrain the pelvic floor muscles and other treatments.
About kegel exercises:
The question of whether or not to do Kegel exercises is common, and many people wonder why they are not finding relief despite performing pelvic floor exercises. The answer is that Kegels may not always be the right solution for pelvic floor problems, and so many women have difficulty identifying the right muscles to exercise. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help identify the underlying issue and provide customized pelvic floor training and activities to help find an effective solution to your specific problem.
Taking control of your pelvic floor health
Individuals need to take an active role in their pelvic floor health. With the right support and resources, it is possible to address pelvic floor problems, reduce pain and discomfort, improve bladder and bowel control, and enhance sexual function.
Importance of seeking professional help:
Seeking professional help is an important step in taking control of your pelvic floor health. A trained pelvic floor physiotherapist can help to diagnose the problem, develop a customized treatment plan, and provide the necessary training and support to help you achieve your goals.
The added benefit of having a pelvic floor physiotherapist oversee these exercises is that they have knowledge regarding the treatments available and adapt the exercises depending on needs and how the individual responds. By working with a professional, you can be confident that you are getting the right care and treatment for your needs.
The role of lifestyle changes:
In addition to seeking professional help, lifestyle changes can also play a role in maintaining pelvic floor health. Simple changes like consuming healthy food, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, adequate hydration and avoiding constipation can help to reduce the strain on the pelvic floor muscles, thereby reducing the risk of pelvic floor problems.
How to find a qualified physiotherapist?
There is evidence that physiotherapy for the pelvic floor can help with the management and rehabilitation of pelvic floor disorders and conditions.
Finding a qualified pelvic physiotherapist can be challenging, but ensuring that you receive the right care and treatment is essential. Start by asking your doctor for a referral, talking to your friends, or checking with your local physiotherapy association for a list of qualified practitioners. Be sure to choose a physiotherapist who has experience working with pelvic floor problems and has received specialized training in this area.
In conclusion, taking control of your pelvic floor health requires professional help and lifestyle modifications. By seeking a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist, making lifestyle changes, and following a personalized treatment plan, you can improve your pelvic floor health, reclaim your physical, and restore self-esteem.
Need help with your pelvic floor problems? Contact us to get more information or to book an appointment with our pelvic physiotherapist.
Cynthia Pathipati – Registered Physiotherapist
Cynthia Pathipati completed her bachelor’s in physiotherapy and is a qualified Registered Physiotherapist in good standing with the College of Physiotherapists of BC with more than 15 yrs of experience. She has Post-Graduate Credentials and Certifications as well as extensive knowledge experience in treating pelvic floor, orthopedic, neurological, vestibular and pain conditions.