What is the pelvic floor?
– Pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone and the pubic bone within the pelvis. They help to support bowel and bladder, and other pelvic organs.
– Signs and symptoms of an unhealthy pelvic floor can include incontinence (e.g. urine or stool leakage), feeling of vaginal heaviness, constipation, etc.
During and throughout pregnancy, pelvic floor muscles can weaken and/or tighten due to:
– extra weight and pressure on pelvic floor as the baby grows (especially during the third trimester)
– hormonal changes that may soften pelvic floor muscles
– after birth (vaginal or caesarian), there is considerable impact in pelvic floor muscles and abdominal wall muscles
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises:
– decrease pain and fatigue in pelvic floor
– improve bowel and bladder control
– improve healing time post-pregnancy
– prevent pelvic organ prolapse
Conditions Pelvic Physiotherapists Treat:
- Bladder or Bowel Leakage
- Low back/Hip/Pelvic Pain
- Postpartum Recovery
- Cesarean Recovery
- Bladder or Bowel Urgency
- Core Strength
- Pelvic Muscle tightness
- Weak Pelvic Muscle
- Pain with Sex
- Diastasis Recti
- And More …
Exercises during pregnancy:
– strengthening of pelvic floor as recommended by doctor or physiotherapist, may not be suitable for everyone
– through Kegel exercises, and strengthening/stretching of hip/pelvic musculature
Exercises after pregnancy:
– continue strengthening of pelvic floor and surrounding muscles
– there are still a lot of changes in the pelvic area especially within first 3 months post-pregnancy
– need to have tailored exercise plan to return safely even to general full body exercise
Do Men benefit from Pelvic Physiotherapy?
Men can benefit from Pelvic Health Physiotherapy just as much as women.
What are indications to see a pelvic physiotherapist: dribbling after you urinate or weak stream of urine, pain in the pelvic region when you strain or lift, chronic digestive issues, diastasis recti or painful bladder syndrome.
A thorough evaluation, using a holistic approach, will help determine the contributors to your symptoms. You will be educated along the way and feel more empowered about why you are experiencing the symptoms you are. A customized treatment plan will be developed based on individual findings. Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help treat symptoms related to:
- Pelvic / Groin Pain
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Chronic Recurring Urinary Tract Infections / Painful Bladder Syndrome
- Chronic Pain / Persistent Low Back Pain / SI Joint dysfunction / Tailbone pain
- Chronic Non-Bacterial Prostatitis
- Pre / Post Prostatectomy Care
- Digestive Issues: Chronic Bloating, Constipation, IBS
- Diastasis Recti Abdominus (abdominal separation / bulging)
- Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation
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By: Irene Chau, Physiotherapist