Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of conditions that have been caused by, or are related to, dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles. It is performed by a physiotherapist with specialized training and expertise in the area of pelvic health. Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is increasingly becoming established in research as the first-line of management for incontinence, painful pelvic conditions, and prolapse.
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is also known as:
- Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
- Women’s Health Physiotherapy
- Men’s Health Physiotherapy
- Pelvic Physiotherapy
- Pelvic Rehab
The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles are a small group of hammock-like muscles that are situated at the bottom of your pelvis. As you are sitting in a chair, you will feel the bony prominences of your left and right sitz bones in your buttocks, and the pelvic floor muscles are located between them.
These hidden muscles are extremely important for many reasons:
- They close off the urethra and rectal sphincters to prevent leaking
- They contribute to sexual function and pleasure
- From below, they support the organs inside of the pelvis so that they stay within abdominal cavity
- They provide stabilizing support to the lower back
- They help circulate blood and other body fluids from the lower extremities upwards towards the heart
Your pelvic floor muscles are part of your inner core muscle group. They work together with three other muscles (the Transverse Abdominis, the Multifidus, and the Diaphragm) to provide the foundation for core stability.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Problems in the pelvic floor generally reflect the state of the muscle group. Like any other voluntary muscle in our body, the state of the pelvic floor muscles can range from being very weak to being very tight.
Signs of weak pelvic floor muscles are:
- Involuntary leaking of urine or fecal matter, known as incontinence
- Difficulty controlling gas
- “Dropping” of pelvic organs, known as prolapse
Signs of tight pelvic floor muscles include:
- Urinary frequency, urgency, retention, hesitation
- Painful intercourse
- Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
- Unexplained pain in hips, lower back, pelvis
- Pain arising from Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, Pudendal Neuralgia
Other conditions that also contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction include poor posture, hormonal changes, chronic coughing (such as in asthma), obesity, and poor coordination or timing of pelvic floor contractions.
Nowadays, more and more women and men are learning about effective health practices that can benefit them for the rest of their lives.