Pelvic Floor physiotherapy is becoming more established in the research as a first line of defence against Incontinence and Pelvic Pain for women. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can be caused by:
- Hypotonicity(Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles): Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to Stress Incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Incontinence is NOT a normal part of aging.
- Hypertonicity(Tight Pelvic Floor Muscles): Tight pelvic floor muscles can contribute to Urinary and Fecal Urgency, Urge Incontinence, Chronic Pelvic Pain, Dyspareunia, Vaginismus,
Vulvodynia, Pudendal Neuralgia, and Interstitial Cystitis
- When our pelvic floor muscles are unhealthy they can cause a host of problems as mentioned above. Women need to connect with these very important muscles again. No other set of voluntary muscles (muscles that we have direct control over) is as important, and yet is so consistently ignored in medicine and in our exercise regimes. These important muscles have five major functions including:
- Maintaining continence of our bladder and bowel
- Allowing sexual function and pleasure
- Providing support to our internal organs so that our bladder, uterus, and intestines stay in the abdominal cavity where they belong
- Providing support for our low back so that we can function without pain
- Helps our circulatory system get the blood and other body fluids from the legs back to the trunk and heart
- We need to connect with our pelvic floor muscles (know how to keep them strong, yet relaxed) throughout our life span to ensure that we have healthy functioning of all of these important activities.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists help women rehabilitate their pelvic floor muscles. These muscles can be weakened by childbirth, surgery, heavy lifting, being overweight, constipation or menopause. The pelvic floor muscles support the womb (uterus), bladder and bowel (colon), forming a ‘sling’ from the pubic bone at the front to the tailbone at the back. If the muscles are weak, this can affect bladder and bowel control, resulting in incontinence (leakage) or prolapse.
For other women, their pelvic floor muscles may be overactive; that is, they can switch on involuntarily when they should be relaxing. These women need to learn to release their muscles. Overactivity can cause difficulty with having sex, emptying the bladder or bowels or using tampons.