Pelvic health is a topic that often remains unspoken, yet it affects a significant portion of the population, particularly women. One of the common conditions related to pelvic health is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD). Fortunately, there are effective treatments available, such as pelvic floor therapy. Many experts offering pelvic floor therapy in the South Carolina area provide excellent services at several health centers.
This guide will explain what PFD is, the various forms of pelvic floor therapy available, the signs of PFD and who could benefit from these therapies in South Carolina.
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the pelvic region that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum and uterus or prostate. When these muscles and tissues are not functioning optimally, it leads to PFD. This can result in urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse and chronic pain conditions.
PFD can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and daily activities. However, with a personalized treatment plan involving pelvic floor physical therapy, individuals can regain control over their bodies and return to activities without pain.
What Are the Types of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
1. Manual Therapy
Manual therapy is a hands-on approach used by physical therapists to address pelvic dysfunction. Through joint mobilization and myofascial release techniques, therapists aim to improve joint mobility, decrease muscle tension and alleviate pain in the pelvic region. Manual techniques can help restore proper pelvic floor function and enhance overall mobility and comfort by manually manipulating the muscles and tissues.
2. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegel exercises, aim to strengthen and improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles. These exercise programs involve contracting the muscles as if trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas and then releasing the contraction. Regular practice of pelvic floor exercises can help improve muscle tone, enhance bladder and bowel control, reduce urinary incontinence and alleviate pelvic pain.
3. Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation is a therapy that utilizes low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles. By placing electrodes on specific areas of the pelvic floor, the electrical currents help activate and strengthen the muscles. This type of pelvic floor therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals with weak or underactive pelvic floor muscles, helping to enhance muscle strength, coordination and control.
4. Bladder and Bowel Retraining
This form of therapy focuses on establishing a regular bathroom schedule and retraining the bladder or bowel to function effectively. The therapist guides individuals in developing a specific schedule for emptying the bladder or bowels, gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits. This process helps to improve bladder or bowel control, decrease urgency and frequency, and promote better coordination of pelvic floor muscle contractions during urination or bowel movements.
5. Biofeedback Techniques
Biofeedback is a technique that involves the use of electronic devices to provide visual or auditory feedback on the functioning of the pelvic floor muscles. This feedback helps individuals learn how to relax or contract their pelvic floor muscles correctly, improving control and coordination. Biofeedback techniques can be used in combination with other therapies to enhance the effectiveness of pelvic floor therapy.
6. Corrective Exercise
Corrective exercise is a personalized exercise plan developed by physical therapists to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This plan typically includes flexibility exercises, targeted muscle-strengthening exercises and functional movements. Corrective exercises can improve pelvic floor muscle tone, stability and endurance by addressing muscle imbalances, promoting proper alignment and targeting specific muscle groups.
Who Needs Services for Pelvic Floor Therapy SC?
South Carolina residents with the following conditions can benefit from this treatment:
Women Experiencing Pelvic Pain or Discomfort
Women experiencing pelvic pain or discomfort can benefit from pelvic floor therapy as it focuses on identifying and addressing the underlying causes of their pain. Whether it is due to conditions like endometriosis, painful bladder disorders or syndrome, pelvic floor therapy can provide targeted interventions such as manual therapy and biofeedback techniques to reduce pain, improve muscle function and enhance overall pelvic health.
Pregnant Women or Those Who Recently Gave Birth
For pregnant women or those who have recently given birth, pelvic floor therapy is highly beneficial. Pregnancy and childbirth can put significant strain on the pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues such as pelvic pain, bladder incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and diastasis recti. Through specialized forms of exercise and techniques, pelvic floor therapy can help strengthen the transverse abdominis and other pelvic floor muscles to support the growing baby during pregnancy and promote faster recovery and healing postpartum.
Individuals With Fecal or Urinary Incontinence
Individuals experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence can find relief through pelvic floor therapy. This therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles responsible for controlling bladder and bowel movements, helping individuals regain control and reduce instances of leakage. Pelvic floor therapists may employ techniques like electrical stimulation, biofeedback, and corrective exercises to improve muscle strength, coordination and control in the pelvic region.
Men With Prostate Issues
Men with prostate issues, including those who have undergone a prostatectomy or have an enlarged prostate, can benefit from pelvic floor therapy. These conditions can often lead to urinary incontinence or difficulties with urinary control. Pelvic floor therapy can aid in managing these symptoms by providing exercises and strategies to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve bladder control and enhance overall quality of life.
Those Experiencing Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Individuals with pelvic organ prolapse can benefit from pelvic floor therapy. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, leading to the descent of pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum. Pelvic floor therapy can help address this by offering exercises and strategies to improve muscle tone and support, helping alleviate symptoms and prevent further prolapse progression.
What Can You Expect on Your First Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Visit?
1. Initial Assessment
The therapist will begin by discussing your medical history, symptoms and any concerns you may have. They may ask questions about your daily activities, exercise routines and bladder or bowel habits to understand your condition better.
2. Physical Examination
The therapist will likely perform a physical examination, which may involve an external assessment of your pelvic region, including the muscles, skin and connective tissues. They may also assess your posture, spine, hips and other related areas.
3. Internal Examination (If Necessary)
Depending on your condition and comfort level, the therapist may suggest an internal examination. This involves a gentle insertion of one gloved finger into the vagina or rectum to assess the strength, coordination and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles.
4. Treatment Plan
After the assessment, the therapist will discuss their findings, provide education about the pelvic floor and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. The plan may include a wide variety of techniques, such as exercises, manual therapy, biofeedback, electrical stimulation and lifestyle modifications.
5. Education and Home Exercises
The therapist will explain the importance of pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels and may provide instructions on how to perform them correctly. They may also suggest modifications to your daily activities or exercises to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
6. Follow-Up Visits
Depending on the severity of your condition, your therapist may recommend regular follow-up visits to monitor your progress, make adjustments to the treatment plan and address any concerns or questions you may have.
When Should Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Be Considered?
Consider floor physical therapy if you are experiencing any of the following:
Signs and Symptoms
- Urinary Leakage or Incontinence. This is a common symptom of a weak pelvic floor. If you find yourself involuntarily releasing urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise, pelvic floor therapy could help.
- Frequent Urination or Nocturia. Needing to urinate frequently, especially at night, can be a sign of an overactive bladder, which can be addressed through pelvic floor therapy.
- Feelings of Heaviness or Dragging in the Pelvis. This could indicate a pelvic organ prolapse, where one or more of the pelvic organs drop from their normal position.
- Pain During Intercourse. Painful intercourse can be a sign of various conditions, including endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and increased pelvic floor muscle tension. Dilators and therawands may be suggested for home use to reduce pelvic floor muscle tension and to reduce overall pain.
Certain Life Stages and Conditions
- Aging. As we age, our muscles naturally weaken, including those in the pelvic floor. Regular pelvic floor therapy can help maintain strength and function in these muscles.
- Pregnancy and Postpartum. Pregnancy and childbirth can place a lot of strain on the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor therapy can not only prepare the pelvic floor for childbirth but also address common postpartum issues such as incontinence and pelvic pain.
- Being Overweight. Carrying excess weight can put additional pressure on the pelvic floor, leading to issues like incontinence and prolapse. Pelvic floor therapy can help strengthen these muscles and manage symptoms.
- Post-Surgical Recovery. If you’ve had surgery involving the pelvic region, such as a hysterectomy or prostatectomy, pelvic floor therapy can aid in recovery and help restore function and strength in the pelvic muscles.
The Course of Floor Physical Therapy
The course of treatment for pelvic floor physical therapy varies from patient to patient. On average, patients attend one 45-minute physical therapy session a week for 6-8 weeks. However, the length of treatment can vary depending on the diagnosis and severity of symptoms.
Incorporating exercises like Kegels, which involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, can also be a useful part of the treatment plan.
Experience Premium Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy in South Carolina at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can significantly impact your quality of life, affecting everything from your daily activities to your sexual health. However, you can regain control and live without discomfort or embarrassment with the right treatment and care. If you’re struggling with symptoms of PFD, consider seeking pelvic physical therapy in South Carolina at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers.
Don’t let pelvic floor issues hold you back. Call us today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life!