What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?

By Rebecca Roberts, PT, DPT

Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses dysfunction in the muscles of the pelvic floor. Dysfunction of pelvic floor muscles may contribute to urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, and pain with intercourse in men, women, and transgenedered individuals. Pelvic floor therapy is a non-surgical approach to treating the pelvic floor and may include manual therapy, movement assessment, therapeutic exercises, education, behavioral strategies, and functional retraining of your pelvic floor, hips, and abdomen. 

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles inside our pelvis, most of the pelvic floor is located between the bones you sit on. The pelvic floor provides support for our pelvic organs, assists in stability of our limbs and spine as we move, assists in posture, assists with breathing, and helps with sexual appreciation.

What are the benefits of receiving pelvic floor therapy? 

Benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy may include:

  • Decreased stress or urge incontinence of bowel and bladder
  • Decreased pain in hips, low back, abdomen, and pelvis
  • Decreased pain with intercourse
  • Decreased feeling of “fullness” or “pressure” through the pelvis and lower abdomen
  • Decreased progression of early stage prolapse
  • Decreased constipation
  • Improved mobility of scarring after surgery, childbirth, & episiotomies

Who can administer pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor muscle assessments require advanced training in pelvic examination techniques, which can be completed by PTs, OTs, and MDs. Only providers who have received advanced training in pelvic muscle evaluation and treatment should perform pelvic floor therapy. 

How does a physical therapist assess pelvic floor muscles?

A pelvic floor therapist is trained in both internal and external examination and treatments. If an internal examination is indicated, it is performed using one gloved finger in the vaginal canal or anus. 

How do I get help?

If you, or someone you know, suffers from incontinence, prolapse, or pelvic pain, then pelvic floor therapy may be right for you. Please contact our office to schedule your pelvic muscle assessment. 

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