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Pelvic Floor Therapy

The TC Wellness & Rehab Blog

Pelvic Floor Therapy

To help you to better understand Pelvic Floor Therapy, you may recall that in our introductory article on physical therapy, pelvic floor dysfunction was mentioned as a musculoskeletal disorder, but what is it all about?

The pelvic floor could quickly be voted the least considered structure in the human body, mainly because there is much ignorance surrounding its actual function.

Think of the pelvic floor as a basket. The base of that basket is made of muscles that attach to the handles (i.e., pelvic bone and end of the spine). In that basket are the abdominal and pelvic organs resting safely.

It is the responsibility of the pelvic floor muscles to support the uterus, prostate, bladder, and bowel. Apart from offering support to these organs, the muscles are integral to postural stability and aid individuals in experiencing sensations and arousal in sexual intercourse.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

What do you think happens when the basket gets too weak or too tight to carry the load?

Well, that’s the definition of pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction is any deviation in the routine work of the pelvic floor muscles.

What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction presents in two main ways, the muscles are either weak (hypotonic/underactive) or too tight (hypertonic/overactive).  In persons with weak pelvic floor muscles, the causes may vary. This can be genetic as some individuals are born with weaker muscles, but it can also result from:

  • Aging
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Surgery
  • Straining with bowel movement and urination
  • Obesity

A tight pelvic floor may be caused by muscle imbalances, stress, anxiety, or trauma. This leads to chronic pain symptoms and can indeed affect one’s quality of life if left untreated.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

How Can I Identify Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? 

Individuals in our population suffer from pelvic floor dysfunctions but often go untreated because symptoms associated with it are often seen as too shameful to seek medical attention. Fortunately, in today’s society, medical and physical therapy management for pelvic floor dysfunctions has been rapidly increasing and options for treatment are easily accessible and confidential.

If you are experiencing:

  • Incontinence (controlling urine)
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Prolonged constipation
  • Fecal smearing (wiping anal region and not being clean)
  • Pain with sex
  • Unexplained pelvic pain
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Unexplained lower back pain

You may need to see a licensed Health care provider for further investigation and management of said symptoms.

To Kegel or Not To Kegel?

Let’s be honest, we all Google our symptoms and self-diagnose when a new health concern arises. Similarly, individuals suffering from these symptoms often Google and almost always attempt to self-treat. This is not a good idea! Online treatment can cause more harm than good if the incorrect type of exercise/treatment, for instance, is done.

The Kegel exercise is well known as a “pelvic floor ” treatment, but one size does not fit all; if the Kegel exercise is done incorrectly (which is common) or with overactive pelvic floor muscles, this can worsen the symptoms. If you have questions, the safest way forward is to visit a medical professional for treatment.

Why Choose Pelvic Floor Therapy?

Pelvic floor physical therapy focuses on correcting the defect in the operation of the muscles. In most cases, the muscles are weak, but in other instances, the muscles are overactive, which leaves them unable to relax to facilitate normal sexual, bowel, and bladder functions. Based on the type of dysfunction, pelvic floor physiotherapy’s primary goal will be to return the muscles to optimal contracting and relaxing ability.

Treatment for a weak pelvic floor will likely include exercise, electrical muscle stimulation, activity, and lifestyle modifications.

Treatment for overactive muscles will include breathing and relaxation techniques, exercises, massage, behavioral and lifestyle modifications.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms are often life-altering. Agreeably, speaking to others about such personal and “embarrassing” topics may be challenging, but it is necessary if your normal daily activities are being interrupted by these problems.

Married but not enjoying sex? Annoyed by the little urine that escapes when you sneeze? Pain during ejaculation? Unable to “rise” to the occasion? Having dreadful bowel movement experiences?

You do not have to suffer. A pelvic floor therapist can help.

If you have any concerns about your pelvic floor, speak to your doctor today or contact us


Asha-Gaye Blake-Scarlett B.SC. PT