Your pelvis is the bottom area of your trunk, made up of the lower back and hip areas. Within the lower pelvis is a group of muscles called the pelvic floor. Grouped together like a hammock strung from your pubic bone to your tailbone, the pelvic floor supports your bladder, bowel, and organs.
Your pelvic floor plays an important part in controlling your bowels and bladder, as well as sexual function. As waste is cleared from your digestive system, via bowel or bladder, it must pass through the pelvic floor. While the pelvic floor controls similar functions in men and women, the range of pelvic health issues can vary greatly.
Pelvic Health Issues
If you have any of these symptoms, you may be experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction.
- Abdominal Pain
- Urinary Leakage
- Urinary Hesitancy
- Fecal Incontinence
- Frequent Bathroom Trips
- Diastasis Recti
- Painful Intercourse
- Hip Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Coccydynia/Tailbone Pain
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction, in short, is a common problem in which the muscles of the pelvic floor do not function correctly or have been injured in some way. Dysfunction is often caused by a trauma to the area, as a result of things like:
- An accident
- Chronic constipation
However, some pelvic floor dysfunction stems from improperly learned behaviors, like pushing or straining on the toilet, or going to the bathroom too quickly.
Every day, the pelvic floor is involved with many important bodily functions, such as going to the bathroom or having intercourse. When these muscles are weak or damaged, your body can have a hard time holding its bladder or bowels, and unwanted leakage can occur.
If the pelvic floor can’t support the organs that sit upon it, organ prolapse can also cause discomfort or pain. On the contrary, if muscles are too tight, the pelvic floor can inhibit proper bathroom function, causing problems like constipation (also known as outlet dysfunction) or incomplete emptying of the bladder. It can also be the culprit if you’re having pain during sex — for males and females.
You Are Not Alone
Millions of Americans deal with pelvic floor dysfunction, yet it often goes unidentified and untreated because many people are too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms. Even if a patient does discuss their symptoms with their doctor, some providers are not aware of how treatable the issues are, nor are they aware of the right type of provider to address these dysfunctions.
Research shows that roughly 1 in 5 people will experience pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lifetime. However, speaking to a trained pelvic floor physical therapist can get you on the right track to improvement. Pelvic health issues should not be simply accepted as normal. They may be a common problem, but they are treatable, often completely curable, and definitely should not be dismissed as a normal part of life simply because you haven’t been able to find the right kind of help.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help
The muscles of the pelvic floor work exactly the same as the muscles in other parts of our body. Just as physical therapy would help rehabilitate your knee or bicep following surgery, pelvic floor rehab helps rehabilitate the nerves, joints and muscles of the pelvis. Manual therapies can ease tension within the muscles, and specific pelvic floor exercises can strengthen where muscles are weak.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help uncover the “why” behind your symptoms and frequently address the problem without the need for surgical intervention. It can be used as a drug-free strategy for pain management both before and after surgery, or in conjunction with pharmaceutical interventions or other forms of management for bowel, bladder and pelvic issues.
Savor Life With Smart Body Physical Therapy
The therapists at Smart Body Physical Therapy are dedicated to the specialization of pelvic health therapies. They are experts in treating pelvic floor dysfunction in both men and women, providing hands-on, one-on-one services. As one of the nation’s largest practices focusing on pelvic health physical therapy, Smart Body has been a pioneer for pelvic health initiatives, lobbying for patient needs and awareness.
Patients can visit Smart Body’s state-of-the-art facility, located in Jacksonville, Florida, or work with a therapist through telehealth appointments. Call Smart Body Physical Therapy today so you once again Savor Life!