Pelvic floor therapy is the process of identifying, strengthening, and balancing the pelvic floor muscles – the one that mainly supports the bladder, uterus, rectum, bladder, and bowels.
Pregnancy and childbirth could significantly affect the pelvic floor muscles, causing them to become strained and weaker. Long-term discomfort and consequences might result from having a weak pelvic floor. Pelvic floor therapy is a physical therapy that is applied particularly in treating problems with the pelvic floor.
How Does Pelvic Floor Therapy Work?
We spend a great deal of time and energy worrying about the changes our bodies undergo throughout pregnancy and childbirth—stretched belly skin, stretch marks, weight gain, and swollen hands and feet, to name a few. However, few of us consider what may occur inside our bodies and the effect this may have on our general health.
Numerous women report postpartum symptoms such as backaches, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and painful intercourse—all of which could be attributed to pelvic floor problems.
In some countries, it is customary for new mothers to consider pelvic floor therapy during the first couple of weeks after giving birth.
Problems that Treated by Pelvic Floor Therapy
Not all women are aware of the symptoms associated with an abnormal pelvic floor. Nonetheless, numerous disorders that we consider to be ordinary and even normal postpartum experiences can be traced back to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Furthermore, pelvic floor therapy may also be used to treat other disorders, including vaginismus and endometriosis.
Some of the more prevalent indications of pelvic floor dysfunction include the following:
- Constant urge to urinate
- Diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), which is frequently associated with pelvic floor weakness)
- Prolapse of the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, or rectum)
- Painful urination
- Difficulty completing bowel movements
- Pelvic pain
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Low back pain
- Pubic bone pain
Is Pelvic Floor Therapy Necessary?
There is a great deal of muscle and skin pulling and stretching that must occur to fit the growing baby and enable you to give birth. The hormones of your body have a significant effect during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
Many women discover that their bodies resume normal function within several weeks or months of giving birth. Nonetheless, many women—particularly those who have multiples or have given birth to multiples have had traumatic deliveries, and they may require pelvic floor muscle therapy.
The majority of pelvic floor therapists recommend waiting for 4 to 6 weeks postpartum before considering pelvic floor rehabilitation options. If you sustained a deep rip or another type of injury during childbirth, you might need to undergo pelvic floor therapy as soon as possible. Suppose you experience urine or fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, or any of the symptoms listed above after six weeks. In that case, it is highly suggested that you visit a pelvic floor therapist.
Bear in mind that pelvic floor treatment can be beneficial at any stage postpartum. Even years after childbirth, women could benefit from it!
An OB/GYN or a midwife may be able to conduct an initial assessment and then refer you to a pelvic floor therapist. Numerous pelvic floor therapists may collaborate with your physician or midwife. Moreover, the International Society of Sexual Medicine has a directory of pelvic floor therapists.
The Role of a Pelvic Floor Therapist
You are probably wondering what a pelvic floor therapist does. Many mothers may even be hesitant to discuss their concerns or seek medical help for pelvic floor issues – no need to worry, though, because it is just a common issue. Pelvic floor therapists are skilled at assisting you in feeling better while also ensuring that the experience is as comfortable as possible.
Having said that, you should always conduct an interview with a pelvic floor therapist prior to your first appointment to ensure that you understand the session’s purpose and that you feel secure with the therapist.
Following an initial assessment, tests, and medical evaluation, the pelvic floor therapist would then focus on the following throughout a session:
• They will explain to you about the pelvic floor function and how to connect with your own body and muscles.
• They will explain lifestyle decisions that may have an effect on the pelvic floor and associated organs, such as suitable exercise practices, food and beverage intakes, and bladder and bowel habits.
• They may demonstrate various breathing strategies to you – such as diaphragmatic “belly” or “chest” breathing.
• They would likely offer you exercises to do at home on a daily basis to help rest and restore your pelvic floor; they may also discuss massage treatments.
• Some providers educate you on pelvic floor awareness and appropriate pelvic floor muscle engagement with the use of low-grade electrical currents or biofeedback sensors.
• Certain therapists may offer pelvic floor therapy to assist in relaxing and balancing the pelvic floor muscles.
Performing Pelvic Floor Therapy Exercises
While most individuals think of pelvic floor workouts, they can immediately relate it with Kegels, a pelvic muscle tightening and toning exercise. The remarkable aspect of Kegels is that it can be performed anytime and anywhere—even when you are simply resting and hanging out.
However, the truth is that many of us are not performing Kegels properly, which means we are not reaping the full benefits of them. Most pelvic floor therapists believe that improperly performed Kegels may cause more harm than good.
Keep in mind that meeting with a pelvic floor therapist could help you better comprehend this exercise, as well as other workouts that may be more appropriate for your specific pelvic floor concerns.
Finding time to treat something as important as pelvic floor health can feel difficult at times. However, caring for yourself is just as critical as caring for others.
It is critical to recognize that these issues are highly prevalent and that you are not alone if you are suffering from them. There is sympathetic and effective assistance available to help you reclaim your body’s health. Even if it has been years—or decades—since you had a baby, pelvic floor therapy can benefit you. It would be best if you had a body that feels well, functions properly, and enables you to live an active, healthy life.