Pelvic floor therapy, a specialized form of physical therapy, can be used to treat chronic pain or other symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction. It is also useful during pregnancy and childbirth.
Your pelvic floor (or pelvic floor) is the part of your pelvis that runs from your pubic bone to where your tailbone (coccyx) intersects. Layers of connective tissue and muscles make up the pelvic floor. These structures can be stretched and formed around three structures: your anus, urethra and vagina. The pelvic floor serves many important functions, including:
- Supporting your uterus and bladder during pregnancy
- This guide will help you control your bladder, bowels and kidneys
- Contributing to the structures which support your spine
- This allows you to have more powerful orgasms and enjoy sex.
- Helping to rotate a baby’s head and place it in the right position during childbirth
- Prevention of constipation and urinary incontinence
Your pelvic floor can also be strengthened by exercising, just like other muscles in your body. Strong pelvic floors can prevent dysfunction in the pelvic floor, which can lead to symptoms like chronic pain or incontinence.
A form of physical therapy, pelvic floor therapy, can strengthen your pelvic floor. You can use a variety of strategies to perform pelvic flooring therapy. There are many options, from easy exercises that you can do every day to more complex techniques that require a professional.
Ageing, trauma, and surgery can cause the pelvic floor to weaken. It is common for women to develop symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction after menopause and during pregnancy.
It doesn’t matter how common, it is important to have your pelvic floor dysfunction and any symptoms examined by a doctor. If necessary, you can get treatment.
The most common signs of pelvic floor dysfunction are:
- Incontinence urinary or fecal
- Vaginal gas, commonly known as “queefing”
- Increased tension in the pelvic floor muscles can cause chronic lower back pain.
- Vaginal pain during sex or gynecological exams, or tampon insert
- Pain in your genitals and rectum
- Involuntary pelvic muscle spasms
- Feeling the need to urinate or defecate frequently
- Urination pains
If you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms, the first thing you should do is book an appointment with your ob/gyn. Your symptoms will be diagnosed by your ob-gyn after they examine you. They may refer you to a specialist in pelvic floor.
Your certified pelvic floor physical therapist might recommend different methods to correct your pelvic floor dysfunction. It will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your personal characteristics. Sometimes, treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction may require the collaboration of gynecologists and mental health professionals.
These techniques may help relieve pelvic floor dysfunction:
- Education — Learn how your pelvic floor works and how to maintain it healthy.
- Exercises for the pelvic floor — These simple exercises can help improve flexibility and muscle strength.
- Manual therapy for the Pelvic Floor — This may be used to improve circulation, posture, flexibility, and mobility.
- Vaginal dilation — These devices can be used to relax the pelvic floor and relieve chronic pain.
- Biofeedback — A probe is inserted into the vagina to see how your pelvic floor muscles function. This will help you to gain a greater understanding of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Electrical stimulation for the pelvic floor — Low-voltage electric currents can sometimes be used to stimulate your pelvic floor muscles.
A few simple exercises can stimulate the pelvic floor muscles and increase strength, mobility, flexibility. These exercises include:
This exercise can be particularly helpful for strengthening your pelvic floor after a C-section or vaginal delivery. These exercises can also strengthen your glutes. These are the steps to perform a bridge exercise:
- Place your hands on your stomach and incline your head so that your knees are bent.
- To lift your butt off of the ground, use your pelvic muscles and glutes.
- This pose should be held for between 3 and 8 seconds.
- You can do up to three sets of 10 repetitions depending on your endurance.
While most people know squats well, not all squats promote stronger pelvic floors. Instead of performing deep or wide-legged squats for your pelvic floor muscles, perform shallower and more frequent repetitions.
To perform pelvic-floor-enhancing squats, follow these steps:
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, place your feet on the ground.
- Keep your back straight while bending your knees and leaning slightly forward.
- Do not go below what you feel is reasonable.
- As you stand slowly, focus on contracting your pelvic muscles.
- Do this 10 times, then rest between sets.
- You can either sit comfortably in a comfortable chair or lie down with your knees bent.
- You can perform a quick squeeze by contracting your pelvic muscles as fast as you can and then letting them relax quickly. These squeezes can help protect against incontinence.
- Slow squeezes are performed by contracting your pelvic floors muscles at half the speed of your fast squeeze and holding it for 10 second. These squeezes will increase the strength and endurance of your muscles.
- It is important to take a deep breath between every squeeze.
- For each squeeze, perform three sets of three.
- To increase your endurance, you can do three fast squeezes followed immediately by ten slow squeezes.
- Four sessions of slow and fast squeezes per day
A pelvic floor massage can help reduce tension in the pelvic floor. Before you attempt to do this at-home, talk with your doctor. This massage technique can also help to prepare your pelvis for childbirth, preventing tears.
Vaginal massage can be more comfortable after you’ve had a warm bath or shower. Follow these steps.
- Wash your hands.
- You will find a private and comfortable place.
- Massage oil can be applied to your perineum, the entrance of your genital canal and your scrotum.
- Use your thumb to press your vaginal area and your index finger to massage your skin from side to side.
- This pressure should be applied until you feel a soft, tingling sensation.
- If you feel pain, stop massaging.
- Gently insert your thumb about two to three cms into your vagina. Next, perform a “U-shaped” massage toward your anus.
- Each day, massage for around 10 minutes
Different pelvic floor issues can be treated with vaginal dilators. These devices are used to train the tissues around your vagina to relax or contract as you wish.
Sometimes, dilators can be prescribed to improve scar tissue after childbirth, radiotherapy, or surgery. These dilators can also be used for hypersensitive vaginal and vulvar tissue.
Vaginal dilators may be prescribed by your doctor or pelvic floor specialist. They will likely instruct you to only use them for a short time and increase your endurance. Doctors recommend that dilators be used for just 1 minute, then increase the time by gradually increasing their duration to 5-10 minutes.
It is important to feel comfortable when using vaginal dilations. Too fast can lead to pain, trigger muscle spasms and worsen the original problem. Slower progress can be helpful in relieving symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Yoga can relax your muscles and strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Other simple at-home techniques to work out your pelvic floor muscles include Kegels and reverse Kegels. You may also want to ask your pelvic floor therapist about using Kegel weights to increase your pelvic floor strength.
To achieve great results with pelvic floor therapy, you must be consistent. Sometimes, it takes months of physical therapy before people feel relief. In some cases, maintenance therapy may be necessary to prevent problems from recurring.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help reduce many symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. This includes incontinence, chronic pain, and sexual dysfunction. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor if you think you might have pelvic floor dysfunction.