What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Are you familiar with the joke about moms always peeing when they sneeze or jump? In our opinion, it’s not that funny. Medically, this is proven to be related to a woman experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and someone who could benefit from pelvic floor therapy. If this sounds familiar, don’t fret! We want to help answer some of your most common questions and point you in the right direction toward healing and pee-free sneezing.
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What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Let’s first start at the root of the problem: the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a “sling” of muscles that support the bladder, rectum, and other pelvic organs. Everyone has one, and both men and women can suffer from weakness and/or the tightening of such muscles instead of relaxing them.
While both sexes can suffer negative side effects from this issue, we are going to focus on the issues women face and how we can help you. But if your spouse is experiencing issues, they could benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy too!
There are different types of pelvic floor dysfunction and symptoms, but the most common can be narrowed down to these two issues:
- Bladder and bowel control
- Pelvic organ prolapse
Dysfunction can happen because of weakness or damage. The most common type of damage is through childbirth. But if you have never been pregnant or given birth, you are not automatically excluded.
One in four women actually experience some form of pelvic floor dysfunction (Columbia Surgery). Because its symptoms can affect your daily life and your sexual life, it’s important to know what you need in order to help improve your overall quality of life.
How Does Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Affect My Life?
There are a few different ways you may see pelvic floor dysfunction manifest in your life. Like the mom from the intro, it could be in urinary leaks. It may be common for women to pee when they laugh, sneeze, or jump, but it is NOT normal. If you experienced this after having a baby, you are experiencing postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you are having painful sex but it’s unrelated to childbirth, that is one of the pelvic floor disorders that are usually due to muscle spasms and inability to properly relax. Sometimes this is due to previous sexual trauma or anxiety.
How Can I Fix It?
This is the million-dollar question when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. While it luckily does not cost a million dollars, it does require an investment. You will first want to check to see if your insurance will cover pelvic floor physical therapy which is the best way to heal your pelvic floor dysfunction. Then, you may need to ask your primary care physician or OBGYN to write a referral since physical therapy can be considered a specialist. Some pelvic floor therapists also work in cash practices and don’t bill insurance, so make sure you ask before you go.
Ashley (name changed) said “I got a $30 discount for using an in-network office, however the weekly appointments were still about $200. While it is an expensive treatment, it did help me to relax and gain confidence in the bedroom. For four years prior to my treatment, every time I had sex it was excruciatingly painful; it made me hate any form of intimacy. Now I’m able to have pain-free sex, and it is life changing!
What Does Pelvic Floor Therapy Consist of?
Pelvic floor therapy appointments last about an hour and deal with working to relax muscles and learning techniques to practice during the week between appointments. Sometimes the techniques are different stretches or yoga positions. There are even books that focus on Pelvic Floor Yoga that you can work on at home.
Some practitioners will recommend dilators, especially if you are experiencing vaginismus (involuntary contracting to vaginal penetration). Intimate Rose has different sets of dilators that can help ease you into pain-free and successful penetrative sex.
It’s also important to note that dilators or therapy wands are not sex toys. These are actually medical devices to help heal pelvic floor dysfunction. When you are working on pelvic floor physical therapy, your therapist will recommend if you need them for your specific symptoms and give you exercises to practice at home.
How Can I Find Pelvic Floor Therapy Providers?
As with all medical providers, one of the best ways is to ask around. See if people close to you have had any positive or negative experiences. Because pelvic floor therapy has internal exams and exercises, you want to be as comfortable with your provider as possible.
You can also consult Google. By googling “Pelvic floor physical therapists in city, state” you can get a list of local physical therapy practices that offer this type of specialty. Keep in mind that you are probably going to have to call each of the recommendations from your Google search results in order to get specific information on providers and availability. Just because it may be a physical therapy practice doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the correct type of therapist you need.
Another way, and maybe the easiest, would be to ask your OBGYN who they have referred patients to in the past. They could have a good idea of who offers it and who would be best for you since they know your specific needs.
What are the Benefits of Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Ashley’s quote above is such a great reason: she no longer hates or fears sex in her marriage. Others may finally stop the worry of leaks from an unexpected sneeze.
In short, pelvic floor therapy can improve your quality of life. Take the time to figure out if it’s something that would benefit you, then take the next steps to get started.
For more info on Pelvic Floor Health, check out the websites below:
Learn from these pelvic floor educators on Instagram:
Check out these book on Amazon: