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What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Pelvic health physiotherapy, also called pelvic floor physiotherapy, is a specialized form of therapy designed to treat the tissues, nerves, and muscles in the pelvic region. The pelvic region is the area between your belly button and your thighs.
What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
When you are unable to control the muscles in your pelvic floor it is called pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can also happen as a result of overactive or tight pelvic muscles or underactive or weak pelvic muscles.
Pelvic floor dysfunction and disorders can include conditions like prolapse (when organs drop down), diastasis recti (when the abdominal muscle separate), incontinence (both of the bladder and the bowel), and constipation.
Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Problems with the pelvic floor can be linked to many things including diseases and disorders of the pelvic floor and hormonal changes. Other contributing factors include aging, injury to the area, participation in high impact sports, strenuous exercise, pregnancy, and childbirth.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Millions of Canadians cope with the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. You should seek the care of a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist if you experience any of the symptoms below:
Problems Going to the Bathroom
- Problems holding urine, stool or gas when you cough, sneeze, exercise or laugh (incontinence)
- A frequent, urgent and/or sudden uncontrollable need to go to the bathroom
- Problems starting or stopping urinating
- Pain when you urinate or you are unable to empty your bladder fully
- Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
- Waking up often at night to go to the bathroom
- A burning sensation when you urinate
Recent or Ongoing Pelvic Pain
- Tailbone pain that gets worse when sitting
- Unexplained pain in your lower back, hips, genital area, or buttocks
- Pain during tampon insertion
- Pain on the exterior genital area
- Pain during gynecological examination
- Difficulty rolling over, walking, getting in/out of a vehicle or other everyday activities
Problems During Sexual Intercourse
- Having sexual intercourse is difficult or impossible
- New pain after previously pain-free intercourse
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
- Pain during or after intercourse, orgasm, or sexual stimulation
- Painful intercourse (a burning, stinging or tightness causing pain)
- Inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse (erectile dysfunction)
Abdominal Fullness, Pulling or Bulging
- A feeling of fullness, pulling or heaviness in the pelvis
- Bulging or tenting of your abdomen during exercise
- The feeling that something is falling out of your rectum or vagina
- Pressure, bulging, or heaviness in your rectum or vagina
Treating Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
You are not alone. 3.3 million Canadians are affected by pelvic floor dysfunction every year. pt Health physiotherapists receive specialized training to treat dysfunction of the pelvic floor that can lead to incontinence, urinary or fecal urgency, chronic pelvic pain, and more. There are solutions that don’t involve medication or surgery including:
- Bladder training
- Strengthening or Kegel exercises
- Joint stability exercises
- Joint mobilization exercises
- Therapeutic tape
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Manual therapy
- Pilates to strengthen your core
- Diet and lifestyle education
What Can Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Treat?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a natural, drug-free, and non-surgical treatment option. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is proven effective in the treatment of many conditions including:
- Bowel incontinence
- Urinary incontinence (including stress, urge, and mixed incontinence)
- Difficulty urinating
- Low-grade pelvic organ prolapse (including the bladder, uterus, and rectum)
- Pelvic pain disorders (like Vaginismus, Dyspareunia, Vulvodynia)
- Pre-natal & postpartum pelvic pain
- Prostate problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful intercourse
- Chronic low back pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Diastasis recti (split abs)
- Low back pain
- Coccydynia (tailbone pain)
- Weakness or increased tone in the pelvic floor
- Pelvic floor myofascial dysfunction
- Central sensitization within the pelvic floor
What to Expect at Your First Appointment
pt Health pelvic health physiotherapists have received special training that allows them to assess your current condition and prescribe treatments to get you better. At your first appointment you can expect:
Your physiotherapist will sit down with you to take your medical history. They may ask questions about your current condition as well as your bathroom or sexual habits as they relate to your symptoms.
After taking your history, your physiotherapist will begin a physical evaluation. This exam assesses your posture as well as the structures of your pelvic region that can cause dysfunction. Depending on your symptoms, your assessment may include an external as well as an internal vaginal or rectal exam.
Goals and Treatment Plan
Following your assessment, your physiotherapist will discuss your condition and work with you to set goals and develop a treatment plan. Your physiotherapist will explain the plan and answer any questions you might have.
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Coverage Options
pt Health therapy services are covered by most extended health insurance companies and in some cases Veterans Affairs and Medicare – such as OHIP (Ontario), Alberta Health Care and Medical Service Plan MSP (British Columbia). Not sure if you’re covered? No problem. We can help you find out (and usually within the hour). Just call us toll-free at 1-866-266-3956.
At pt Health we believe your health should come first. We take care of the paperwork so you can focus on getting better, plus we offer direct insurance billing, saving you time and upfront costs.
Learn More About pt Health Coverage Options
Clinics That Offer Pelvic Health Physiotherapy
Calgary, Alberta: pt Health – Corporate Sport and Advantage Health Aspen – pt Health
Sherwood Park, Alberta: Sherwood Park Physiotherapy – pt Health
Bedford, Nova Scotia: pt Health Dellridge
Greenwood, Nova Scotia: Greenwood Physiotherapy – pt Health
Cornwall, Ontario: pt Health – Cornwall Physiotherapy
Dunnville, Ontario: pt Health – Dunnville Physiotherapy
Ottawa, Ontario: pt Health – Broadview Physiotherapy
Stratford, Ontario: pt Health – Stratford Physiotherapy