Over the years, women may notice that their pelvic muscles are just not as strong as they once were. They may feel pain in the pelvis, overall weakness, decrease in sexual pleasure, or leaking of urine during normal daily activities. It’s a form of Sarcopenia, otherwise known as a weakening of muscle mass across the body due primarily to age. Other symptoms of a weak pelvic floor could include the following:
- Painful urination
- Back pain
- Pelvic muscle spasms
- Pelvic pressure
It happens naturally as you get older, but pelvic muscles can also be affected by factors such as pregnancy, physical trauma to the area, or simply through chronic overuse.
Pelvic Floor FAQs
Q. What is the pelvic floor?
A. The pelvic floor is a term to cover the muscles that support the organs of all human beings. It supports the bladder and colon, as well as the uterus of biological women.
Q. What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
A. Pelvic floor dysfunction is when a person is unable to coordinate and relax their pelvic muscles to do things like process a bowel movement. It’s estimated that nearly half of people live with this condition.
Q. What does pelvic floor dysfunction look like?
A. That depends on your biological sex. For men it may involve erectile dysfunction or a swelling of the prostate, while women may experience pain during penetrative sex.
Q. How do you know if you have pelvic floor dysfunction?
A. This is something that is typically diagnosed by a medical professional. But, if you have a history of UTIs, an overactive bladder or fecal incontinence, these are all major symptoms of pelvic floor distress.
What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor?
If this has been something you’ve been enduring for a while, you’ve likely seen the tools and equipment that advertise effects through Kegels, or exercises that, in women, are meant to tighten and strengthen the muscles of your vagina. But do Kegels work?
Yes, they do! In fact, they’re a verified form of treatment for both men and women! When done correctly you’ll find that Kegels can help strengthen the muscles needed to reduce incontinence and sexual disfunction. However, it can be difficult to make sure you’re working the right muscles, as it’s calculated that a third of people attempting the exercise are actually tightening their buttocks or inner thigh.
It’s because of this that the team at New Heights Therapy suggest pursuing professional pelvic floor therapy. With us, you can make sure you have the support and insight of the most qualified physical therapists in the area.
Is Pelvic Floor Therapy Right for You?
When pelvic floor therapy is used with the guidance of a physical therapist, you may feel more comfortable, eliminate some symptoms and get back to the activities that you love. There are specific circumstances when a woman can really benefit from pelvic floor therapy.
Pelvic Floor and Postpartum Therapy
This therapy is perhaps best known for being used in women who have given birth. The pressure that occurs as you push a child through your vaginal canal can stretch and even tear pelvic muscles, leading to weakness. The pelvic muscles, which are meant to hold up the bladder and uterus, soften and sink. Therapy tightens and lifts these muscles again.
Post-Abdominal Surgery and Pelvic Exercises
Therapy is also very beneficial after pelvic surgery. When the muscles are cut, it takes a while for them to grow back together correctly and to regain their former strength. Healing from surgery can also involve scar tissue and flexibility issues, and pelvic floor therapy can help to address these issues. Physical therapy is an excellent choice after a hysterectomy, episiotomy, colorectal surgery, or C-section.
Pelvic Floor Therapy and Incontinence
If you are aging, you may be noticing some bladder weakness. Instead of turning to an incontinence pad, assuming that this is a normal part of aging, choose pelvic therapy. It can strengthen and lift your pelvic muscles, providing better support for the bladder and ureters.
Therapy for General Pelvic Health
Women may also need physical therapy for the pelvic muscles for a variety of other generalized concerns, including the following:
- Pelvic pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Abnormally tight pelvic floor muscles
- Nerve damage
While you may need months of therapy, and will continue pelvic muscle strengthening exercises at home, you can turn around the health of your pelvic floor and experience great muscle tone in the area. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we believe in taking care of your total health and well-being. This applies not only to pelvic health, but to a whole range of treatments that we specialize in. So if you think you could benefit from support and experience in your pelvic floor therapy, give us a call today!