Let me just start by saying...my number one treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction is pelvic physical therapy. It is my answer to anyone who asks “What should someone do if they experience pelvic floor discomfort?" or "What kind of treatments are there for pelvic floor dysfunction?” In my opinion, pelvic floor physical therapy (or pelvic floor physiotherapy if you are in Canada or the UK) should be the first line of defense for things like incontinence, prolapse, chronic back pain and even diastasis recti.
While many pelvic floor related challenges are common, like post-partum leakage or stress urinary incontinence, they aren’t necessarily “normal”. Folk wisdom suggests these are things that should be endured, but the truth is that there is help available and you can significantly improve your quality of life by taking the time to treat pelvic floor dysfunction with pelvic floor physiotherapy and exercise. You don’t have to put up with the nagging symptoms.
Pelvic floor physical therapy helps women address pelvic floor dysfunction from the inside out. After a thorough assessment, targeted exercises are prescribed which can improve the quality of life of women dealing with pain, discomfort and leaking. A pelvic floor physiotherapist is trained as a regular physical therapist and has additional training in the pelvic floor. they are licensed to assess and treat beyond the entrance to the vagina.
Pelvic Floor physical therapy involves an assessment of the internal and external genitalia using a gloved finger. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a process by which you can get to the root of your pelvic floor dysfunction. So many women think that just doing kegels will solve everything and that if they experience discomfort it is from lack of tension when the inverse might be true. Too much tension can be equally challenging and can also cause discomfort.
Seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist can help you figure out what’s really going on and give you a plan to address the underlying issues. These are professionals who have extensive experience and education and a commitment to women’s wellness. They can explain what is going on with your body in an accessible way so you can participate in your recovery.
When women are experience pelvic floor dysfunction, often they are looking for advice on the best way to do pelvic floor exercises. They’re also wondering, “How long does it take to strengthen the pelvic floor? Can walking strengthen pelvic floor muscles?” These are questions to discuss with your pelvic floor physical therapist because the answer may vary depending on your personal circumstances.
The Kegel Mojo program is another way to learn how to do pelvic floor exercises effectively. In this online program, I guide women through strengthening their pelvic floor and the right way to do a kegel so they can take charge of their wellness from the comfort of their own home. While the program is very comprehensive, I still recommend everyone see a pelvic floor physiotherapist if they have access to one in their community.
Undertaking a new course of treatment can be intimidating, especially in such an intimate area of your body. It’s understandable to be nervous when you don’t know what to expect or what the experience will be like. Rest assured your individual challenges will be discussed and treated confidentially, compassionately and in language you can understand.
Recovery isn’t something that typically happens overnight, but your pelvic floor physical therapist will be able to suggest strategies you can use in your day to day life so you are not perpetually dependent on pads. Their advice may provide non-surgical options to address your pelvic floor issues. Every case is different and your physical therapist will be able to give you their own estimate about how long your course of treatment will last. Some notice change in as little as 1-2 weeks.
If you’re looking at at-home options for pelvic floor physical therapy, outside of the Kegel Mojo program, I suggest trying this belly release exercise which can be helpful for pelvic floor dysfunction. Here are the instructions on how to do it:
From a kneeling position on your mat, come onto all fours, place your knees pelvis width apart with your knees directly underneath your hips. You can have your toes tucked or untucked. Your wrist should be shoulder width apart directly underneath your shoulders. Check in to make sure you have a gentle curve in your low back. Also be aware of your ribs. Make sure the bottom ribs are in line with the top of the pelvis.
This is an "allowing" exercise, not a "doing" exercise in this position. You will simply allow the belly to expand and remain expanded almost as if it's reaching towards the floor. Every inhalation will be a full expansion. And then as you exhale, just allow for a soft exhalation. You're not picking up blueberries or doing any reference to the core breath. You're simply allowing the belly to let go of tension, to relax and to release.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is an effective method of treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic wellness related issues. Beyond providing medical care, you will also receive important health information about your body and how best to take care of it. In Europe, it is common for women to be give 6-12 pelvic floor physical therapy sessions postpartum to ensure their wellness after delivering a baby. Wouldn't it be wise to make this a global practice?
If you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic pain or other annoying symptoms I highly recommend you seek the support of a qualified pelvic floor physical therapist. There is no reason to put up with discomfort, pain or bladder leakage when pelvic floor physical therapy treatment is available. Just because something is common doesn’t make it “normal.” Take charge of your health and wellness and make an appointment. You can google pelvic floor physical therapy and your city. You can also check out the directory at www.pelvicguru.com Get ready to start feeling better, learn more about your body and get relief from your symptoms so you can improve your quality of life.