The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles that goes from the pubic bone in the front of the pelvis to the tailbone and the bones that we sit on. The purpose of the pelvic floor is to support the pelvic organs including the bladder, uterus (in women), prostate (in men), and bowels. These muscles help to control the bowels and bladder and also have a role in sexual functioning.
Issues with the pelvic floor can occur in women and men of all ages. There are certain stages of life, such as pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause that can cause pelvic weakness in women. Some people are naturally prone to pelvic weakness, and some have muscles that are too tight and cannot be relaxed. Whether the pelvic floor is too weak or too tight, these issues can interfere with bowel and bladder health, daily activities, intimacy with your partner, and confidence out in the community.
What to Expect
Privacy, comfort, and high-quality care is very important to us. Your first appointment usually lasts one-hour and will be held in a private treatment room where a therapist will discuss your current condition, past medical history, symptoms, and your personal goals and expectations for physical therapy. A physical therapist will examine posture and alignment, range of motion, strength of muscles in the hips and pelvis, and mobility of muscles, scars, and pelvic organs.
Your exam may include biofeedback which can help teach individuals to correctly contract and relax pelvic floor muscles using a computer program. A vaginal and/ or rectal examination may be performed to give the therapist useful information about the strength, tone, and sensation of the pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor physical therapists treat women and men for:
- Fecal incontinence
- Painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis
- Painful intercourse
- Pediatric pelvic conditions
- Pelvic girdle pain
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Pelvic muscle pain
- Postradiation pelvic pain after cancer
- Pubic symphysis dysfunction
- Tailbone pain
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary leakage after prostate surgery
- Urinary retention
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Uterine prolapse
How a Physical Therapist Can Help
UPMC Susquehanna has highly trained pelvic floor therapists who can evaluate and treat pelvic floor dysfunction.
Treatment options may include:
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening
- Posture and body mechanics training
- Pelvic joint alignment and mobilization
- Manual therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Healthy bladder and bowel strategies
- Fluid intake and dietary influences
- Bladder training and urgency reduction strategies
- Relaxation techniques and stress management
To schedule an appointment, ask your health care provider for a referral. For more information call: