ProlapseIncontinencePainHealthPregnancyPostpartumWhat is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that attach around the bones of the pelvis; from the pubic bone to the tailbone, and between the hip bones and the sacrum. They form a basket shape that carry and support the pelvic organs including the bladder, uterus, and colon. They also wrap around your vagina, rectum, and urethra (where urine comes out.) Two of the main actions of the pelvic floor muscles are to contract and to relax. When they contract, they hold urine and stool in. This is an important function if you need to go to the bathroom, but there is not a rest room close by. When they relax, they allow for vaginal penetration during sex, urination, and bowel movements. When the pelvic floor muscles are not working optimally, they can cause common conditions such as pain with sex, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.

What is pelvic floor physiotherapy?

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an evidence-based treatment that rehabilitates the muscles in the pelvic floor after injury or dysfunction. Dysfunction in the pelvic floor can occur when the muscles are weak, too tight, or when knots/spasms develop in the muscles.  Kegels are not always appropriate and, in many cases, can make the issue worse.  A physiotherapist with specialized training in the pelvic floor will use education, lifestyle modifications, exercises and, in most cases will perform a vaginal and/or rectal exam using a finger to gently assess and treat the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physiotherapy helps to alleviate pain, weakness and restore proper function in the muscles. There is little to no risk or side effects to the treatment. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an effective treatment option that teaches the patient the skills and exercises needed to independently manage and often resolve their symptoms or condition. 

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©Lynn Sweeney, Physiotherapist
Bsc. Kin, MPT

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