By: Dr. Alejandro Trevino, Pelvic Floor Therapist at DHR Health Urology Institute.
Are you frustrated interrupting your job or a good night’s sleep to use the restroom frequently? Do you have discomfort with pelvic pain after activities like biking, heavy lifting, or playing sports? Also, tired of urinary incontinence when running, sneezing, jumping, lifting your child, or even just going from a sitting to standing position? These are just a few of the symptoms many people face which may be attributed to pelvic floor muscular dysfunction. A doctor of physical therapy with advanced education in pelvic health is a movement and musculoskeletal expert who identifies patients with pelvic floor muscular dysfunction and utilizes pelvic floor therapy to relieve these symptoms.
The practice of pelvic floor therapy features evidence-based and outcome driven care. A good starting point to understand pelvic floor therapy is to know about the pelvic floor anatomy. The pelvic floor consists of pelvic muscles, myofascia, nerves, and ligaments. Dysfunction to this pelvic area, whether its muscular weakness and/or excessive tension, may result in uro-genital, reproductive, musculoskeletal and gastro-intestinal system impairments. Often times these patients will present with prolapse discomfort, incontinence, urgency of rushing to the bathroom, frequency, feeling of not emptying well or straining when using the restroom, and pelvic groin pain with movement like sports and daily activities.
According to the World Health Organization, 22% of men and 24% of women have this type of dysfunction and it is widely known that stats are probably under reported by people with these conditions. Impacts from simply aging, trauma, post-pregnancy, post-surgery to remove cancer in organs like the prostate for men, the uterus for women, surgery to help relieve prolapses like bladder slings and meshes, various surgeries on the prostate are some of the very common scenarios of life that people can have aid in their recovery or better quality of life from pelvic floor therapy.
Fortunately, when therapy is combined with the patient’s compliance in attending therapy sessions and performing a home exercise program, there is a significant reduction or elimination with the previously mentioned symptoms. To begin therapy, patients must be evaluated by the therapist and qualify as candidates. Typically and for example, once 8 weeks have passed since surgery, pregnancy, or a catheter is removed, all the techniques of an individualized treatment program can be used.
The individualized treatment program designed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy with an advanced education in pelvic health may include postural correction, sensors for biofeedback surface electromyography of pelvic floor muscles with an exercise progression, a healthy bladder diet, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and behavioral education. Usually, with my program, I like to have patients achieve goals with a capability to manage an independent life style with less restrictions during their daily activities within 6-8 weeks of starting therapy.
In conclusion, I cannot emphasize enough how often patients say that they are “amazed” how they can get such a big improvement with such conservative and well guided therapy techniques of correcting body movement and proper mindfulness of their daily routines. Pelvic floor therapy can work for you to achieve your goals. Hobbies, returning to work, playing sports, gym classes, and being with friends and family without limitations can all be achieved with this better quality life!
If you are interested in learning more about pelvic floor therapy, please contact the DHR Health Urology Institute at (956) 362-8767.