Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy and Pregnancy
What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a specialized branch of physiotherapy that focuses on assessing and treating conditions impacting pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are crucial for women’s pelvic health, especially during pregnancy.
Your pelvic floor muscles are located between your hip bones and sacrum, the lowest bones in your spine (sometimes called your “tailbone”). These muscles are responsible for supporting your pelvic organs, including your colon, bladder, and uterus.
How Do Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Support Women Patients?
When Should a Pregnant Woman Start Physiotherapy?
When Should You See a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
What Does a Weak Pelvic Floor Feel Like?
Knowing when to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist may be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the symptoms of a weak pelvic floor. If you wonder what it feels like to have a weak pelvic floor that could benefit from treatment, consider the following symptoms:
- Leaking urine or stool (bladder or bowel incontinence)
- Painful or frequent urination
- Feeling as though you need to “force” urination
- Long-term constipation
- Straining or pushing during bowel movements
- Lower back pain without an alternate explanation
- Ongoing discomfort in the pelvic area (pelvis, genitals, rectum)
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty or inability to use tampons
What Does a Weak Pelvic Floor Feel Like?
While we do not know all the potential causes of pelvic floor dysfunction, many known factors may increase your risk. You may be at a higher risk for pelvic floor dysfunction if you experience:
- Traumatic injuries to your pelvis, such as those experienced during a car accident
- Overuse of pelvic muscles
- Pelvic surgery
It is not uncommon for women to experience dysfunctions in the pelvic floor muscles after giving birth. During childbirth, these muscles become strained and can suffer damage. This is especially true if your labor was long, or delivery was difficult.
Another potential factor of pelvic floor dysfunction is advancing age. Unfortunately, many body processes common to aging also affect your muscles and hormones. As we age, hormone levels typically decrease, leading to weaker or even stiffer muscles in the pelvic floor. Both conditions -weak or overly rigid muscles- may lead to difficulties with pelvic floor function. Although it is impossible to avoid menopause or other age-related hormonal changes, it is possible to prevent the complications hormonal shifts may have on your pelvic floor muscles.
Additionally, connective tissues that provide muscle support and assist with muscle movement become more rigid with age. This leads to less support for your muscles and the organs in the pelvic floor. Also, years of bad habits such as straining with bowel movements or waiting too long to empty your bladder begin to catch up with us. In time, years, or even decades, these habits can lead to future challenges with pelvic floor function.
Suppose you have a history of difficulties with the organs in your pelvic region, such as difficulties with urination or bowel movements, painful sex, or a history of bowel or bladder inflammation. It may be time to consider scheduling an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Your provider can assess your symptoms and perform tests to determine how well you can control the muscles in your pelvic floor.
After determining which muscles in your pelvic floor, lower back, or pelvis are weakened or too tight, a pelvic floor physiotherapist will teach you exercises to stretch, loosen, or tighten, and improve the flexibility of these muscles to improve coordination and control.
To learn more about pelvic floor physiotherapy and how it can help you, connect with a physiotherapy clinic near you.
If you are interested in speaking to a health professional about a health concern that you have, you can search Medimap for a clinic near you.
About the author
Shereen is a passionate marketing professional with over 7 years of experience in executing traditional and digital marketing strategies across diverse industries. With a background in both agency and client-side roles, Shereen has successfully implemented effective marketing campaigns that have yielded a positive return on investment. As an energetic individual, Shereen possesses strong organizational and communication skills, ensuring seamless team coordination and collaboration. She thrives in process-driven environments, paying meticulous attention to detail while remaining focused on achieving results. With a proven ability to manage multiple projects in competitive and fast-paced settings, she is dedicated to driving success through strategic marketing initiatives.