What is women’s health physical therapy?
Women’s health physical therapy refers to treatment of musculoskeletal issues pertaining specifically to women. Women’s bodies go through many changes throughout the lifespan: puberty, bone growth, pregnancy, delivery, and menopause. All of these phases affect your body in a unique way.
Women’s health disorders/ailments treated:
- Urinary incontinence
- Pelvic pain
- Coccyx/tailbone pain
- Pain with sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Post partum treatments
- Fecal incontinence
- Core strengthening after abdominal surgery or hysterectomies
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The importance of the pelvic floor muscles:
The pelvic floor muscles form a sling that run from your pubic bone to your tailbone and in between your sitbones. The functions of the pelvic floor muscles are to provide support for your organs, as well as relax when passing urine, gas or stool.
The pelvic floor is a crucial component to your core. The core muscles can be thought of as a tin can, the diaphragm forms the top of the can, the abdominals and spinal muscles form the middle of the can, and the pelvic floor muscles form the bottom of the can.
The pelvic floor muscles can often become weak from obesity, lack of exercise, chronic constipation, estrogen dificiency, previous surgeries, nerve damage, pregnancy, vaginal childbirth, and chronic respiratory conditions. This may lead to urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.
Urinary incontinence is defined as any involuntary leakage of urine. It is a common problem among women: current studies list the prevalence as 35-38%. It can affect a woman at any stage of life. From college athletes who participate in running or jumping sports to elderly women- it is very common, and can usually be treated successfully with the joint effort of your physical therapist and physician.
After a thorough assessment, your physical therapist will design an individualized program for you this may include:
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels)
- Therapeutic exercises
- Modalities to relieve pain
- Skin care management
- Behavioral training for bladder/bowel
- Electrical stimulation
- Education about how to avoid stressing the pelvic floor muscles