Many women are unable to enjoy social activities with family and friends, exercise for their health, or engage in intimate relationships due to embarrassing urine leakage, or persistent pain in their lower stomach or pelvis. If any of these sound familiar to you, pelvic physical therapy will help you to regain the confidence and freedom to enjoy daily pleasures without worry or pain.
Physical Therapists are healthcare experts in evaluating and treating the muscles, joints and the movement of the human body. Urinary incontinence and pelvic pain are among the many things that can happen because of weak muscles or dysfunction through the pelvis.
With appropriate Physical Therapy treatment, you can return to the activities you enjoy and live the life you want!
Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a common problem in women, ranging in severity from slightly bothersome to totally debilitating. Your physician can help to evaluate what type/types of urinary incontinence account for your symptoms so that the condition can be treated or improved. Treatments can range from exercises/training to medications, to surgical procedures.
Urinary Incontinence is a stigmatized, underreported, under-diagnosed, under-treated condition that is erroneously thought to be a normal part of aging.
There is nothing to be ashamed of since incontinence is a medical condition that over 50% of women will experience in varying degrees at some point in their life, surprisingly, only one in five will seek help.
Common types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence occurs when sneezing or coughing movements put pressure on the bladder and cause leakage. This can be caused commonly by the physical changes from pregnancy, childbirth and menopause or hormonal changes.
Urge incontinence occurs suddenly after feeling the need to void, and is thought to be caused by bladder spasms.
Mixed incontinence refers to a combination of causes for incontinence. Many women have both stress and urge incontinence.
Speak with your physician about evaluation and treatment of any problems you may have with urinary incontinence and ask for a referral to pelvic physical therapy:
~ According to studies published in the Journal of American Medical Association, Physical Therapy has been shown to be the most effective and least invasive form of treatment for incontinence. ~
Pelvic pain is pain in the lowest part of your abdomen and pelvis. In women, pelvic pain may refer to symptoms arising from the reproductive or urinary systems or from musculoskeletal sources.
Depending on its source, pelvic pain may be dull or sharp; it may be constant or off and on (intermittent); and it may be mild, moderate or severe. Pelvic pain can sometimes radiate to your lower back, buttocks or thighs.
Pelvic pain can occur suddenly, sharply and briefly (acute) or over the long term (chronic). Chronic pelvic pain refers to any constant or intermittent pelvic pain that has been present for more than a few months.
Sometimes, you may notice pelvic pain only at certain times, such as when you urinate or during sexual activity.
Pelvic pain can be experienced as any of these symptoms:
- Pain with intercourse or other sexual activities
- Pain with tampon use
- Pain with a speculum exam, including a PAP test, or other types of pelvic exams
- Difficulty with normal activities such as sitting, rising from a chair, standing or walking
- Difficulty with recreational activities like golfing, walking, jogging, or other types of exercise
- Chronic constipation or difficulty passing a bowel movement
- Urinary urgency, frequency, or retention
- Pain in the groin
- Pain in the buttock
- Chronic low back, hip or sacroiliac pain
- Pain that shoots, burns, tingles or otherwise travels down the leg
- Abdominal pain
Speak with your physician about evaluation and treatment of any problems you may have with pelvic pain and ask for a referral to pelvic physical therapy.
Persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response or desire — that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner — are known medically as female sexual dysfunction.
Many women experience problems with sexual function at some point in their lives. Female sexual dysfunction can occur at all stages of life, and it may be ongoing or happen only once in a while.
You may experience more than one type of female sexual dysfunction. Types include:
Low sexual desire - You have diminished libido, or lack of sex drive.
Sexual arousal disorder - Your desire for sex might be intact, but you have difficulty or are unable to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity.
Orgasmic disorder - You have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation.
Sexual pain disorder - You have pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.
Sexual response involves a complex interaction of physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and relationships. Disruption of any of these components can affect sexual drive, arousal or satisfaction. Fortunately, female sexual dysfunction is treatable.
Female sexual dysfunction can happen at any age. Sexual problems often develop when your hormones are in flux — for example, after having a baby or during menopause. Sexual concerns may also occur with major illness, such as cancer, diabetes, or heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
Your problems might be classified as female sexual dysfunction if you experience one or more of the following — and you're distressed about it:
- Your desire to have sex is low or absent.
- You can't maintain arousal during sexual activity, or you don't become aroused despite a desire to have sex.
- You can't experience an orgasm.
- You have pain during sexual contact.
When to see a doctor:
If sexual problems affect your relationship or disrupt your peace of mind, make an appointment with your doctor and ask for a referral to pelvic physical therapy.