According to Jennifer B. Hunt, PT from Provenance Rehabilitation in Alpharetta, GA –
“The “pelvic floor muscles” are a group of muscles that are arranged within the pelvis like a sling or hammock, connecting the front, back, and sides of the pelvis and sacrum. The main function of these muscles is to provide support to the organs of the pelvis, including the bladder, uterus or prostate, and rectum. They also make up part of the urethra, rectum, and vagina.
These muscles must be able to effectively coordinate contraction and relaxation to allow normal functioning of the bowel and bladder. Moreover, the ability of these muscles to relax is essential to allow for normal urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse.
The term “Pelvic Floor Dysfunction,” or PFD, refers to these muscles when they are too relaxed or when they have too much tension. Abnormal muscle tone can affect urinary and bowel functions, sexual function, and can cause pain.”
In my case, I had a lot of soreness along with bladder and muscle spasms.
The pelvic PT that I traveled to see determined that my pelvic floor muscles were weakened after battling endometriosis, having surgery for endometriosis, pregnancy with complications (including preterm labor), vaginal childbirth, adenomyosis, and hysterectomy for adenomyosis. She also discovered some trigger points.
During my initial session, she asked me to do some basic pelvic exercises. Imagine my dismay when my brain tried to “tell” my pelvis what to do and my pelvis responded by doing NOTHING. Not a thing. I won’t explain this next part right but basically, my PT said that sometimes our brain will actually quit sending signals to parts of the body as a defensive mechanism. I felt like my body had given up on my pelvis and really, who could blame it.
The good news was that my PT was able to show me how to begin re-establishing the connection. Eventually, through doing exercises that she taught me, both in session and at home, I was able to regain control of the muscles in my pelvis. My PT told me that, in her professional opinion, had I continued carting kids around with such a weakened pelvic floor, I would have needed reconstructive pelvic surgery to “tack everything back up” within 10-15 years. YIKES!
My treatment started with history taking/pelvic exam/evaluation, and then included biofeedback, myofascial release, increasing my water intake, home exercises, and yoga. I made significant improvement! When I began treatment, I was on ditropan for bladder spasms – after 8 PT visits, I was able to cut my ditropan dosage in half.
I was discharged after 13 visits – with instructions to continue my home care and to call if needed. I highly recommend considering physical therapy for PFD or even if you don’t have PFD – if you are post childbirth or pelvic surgery – it can truly make a big difference!
For more information regarding physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction,
check out these fantastic resources –
Preparing for Pelvic Physical Therapy –