Pelvic therapy involves physical therapy of the pelvic floor muscle group. This muscle group is responsible for a variety of functions and pelvic therapy may help with obstetric and gynecologic issues.
What is the pelvic floor muscle group?
The pelvic floor is a bowl-shaped muscle group at the base of the abdomen. This muscle group helps support the pelvic organs, contributes to bowel and bladder control, and assists with sexual arousal and orgasmism.
How is pelvic physical therapy performed?
Pelvic physical therapy uses several techniques to help alleviate or control specific gynecological or obstetrical issues.
- Education. Women will benefit from learning about their pelvic anatomy and how different components work together and individually. The gynecologist may counsel women on normal versus abnormal function and mobility of the pelvic floor. The doctor will also help women understand how habits and hygiene may affect their symptoms.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises. Strength training and stretching exercises focus on the core abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, hips and lower back. Contracting and relaxing muscles in these areas along with breathing and timing techniques are used. These exercises aim to strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight ones, and improve flexibility.
- Manual Therapy. The gynecologist may use manual massage therapy and stretching for muscular training. Internal vaginal massage and manipulation may release and relax contracted muscles, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex and mobility of muscles.
- Biofeedback Therapy. This therapy helps patients visualize how the pelvic floor muscles are working. A probe is gently inserted into a women’s vagina and results of muscle contractions are displayed on a computer screen. Exercises focusing on properly holding and controlling pelvic floor muscles are performed so the woman may visualize the areas she is targeting.
- Electrical Stimulation. A low voltage electrical current may be used to stimulate the muscles of the pelvic floor. This therapy may help teach women to coordinate their muscle contractions and help with motor and sensory revitalization of the pelvic floor.\
What conditions can pelvic therapy help with?
Once all other medical causes for the issue the woman is experiencing are ruled out, pelvic therapy may be used to treat a variety of issues. Pelvic therapy can help with chronic abdominal, myofascial pelvic, bladder, and vaginal pain. This therapy may help with other pelvic function dysfunctions such as urinary and fecal incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapse, and constipation. Pelvic therapy may also help treat discomfort during sexual intercourse, vaginismus, and endometriosis.