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Frequently Asked Questions

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a disorder in the muscles and/or nerves of the pelvic floor, or in the surrounding skeletal structure. It is extremely common to have a dysfunction in the pelvic floor: The pelvic floor muscles surround the urethra, rectum, vagina and prostate; therefore, if there is a dysfunction in these muscles it can result in urinary, bowel or sexual dysfunction in men, women and children.

The occurrence of pelvic floor dysfunction is typically multi-factorial and difficult to identify. It can be the result of a traumatic fall or childbirth or from abdominal or pelvic surgery. It can occur due to poor posture, muscle incoordination, disuse atrophy, a chronic holding pattern in the pelvic floor, from a urinary tract or yeast infection or from a skeletal malalignment.

It is essential to get a proper diagnosis and that would come from a healthcare practitioner that specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction/pelvic pain. Too often I have had patients come to my office and say they have been to 10 different doctors and healthcare providers and their symptoms have not improved, or have worsened. Also, many healthcare providers will state that "it is in your head". They do not assess (or they do not know how to assess) the pelvic floor muscles and nerves.

Part of this is due to the fact that there has been little research on the subject. Although in the past 10 years an abundant amount of research has been published and now a lot more schools are starting to teach the medical students and healthcare students what pelvic floor dysfunction is and how to diagnose it.

There are no books out like this one, that is so helpful and user friendly to the lay person. People who suffer from any of the above-mentioned syndromes or symptoms will benefit from the program in this book: from the massage and stretching to the self-care and nutrition. It is also beneficial for prevention of pelvic floor dysfunction, incontinence and to enhance sexual activity for women and men. The book and the exercises in the book are clear and easy to follow. It also offers helpful resources for the various diagnoses.

There are 2 different Programs:

  1. refers to those that experience pelvic, abdominal, hip and/or back pain and any disorder that has an increase in the pelvic floor muscle tone. Both of these can result in tight or spasmed muscles which commonly results in an inability to relax the pelvic floor muscles. In turn this can affect bladder, bowel, and/or sexual function. The exercises to help with this diagnosis are described in Chapter 3-End the Pain and Chapter 5-Massage.
  2. refers to pelvic floor and possibly core muscle and tissue weakness resulting in incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse (organs dropping) and/or decreased sexual response. Chapter #4 will help, and/ or completely eliminate these problems through strengthening the pelvic floor and core muscles.

In Chapter 2, there is a "symptoms" monitor which allows you to track your symptoms through the programs. There are also recommendations of how and when to advance each program according to how you are progressing.

Sexual activity can be affected in 2 different ways, similar to what is described above:

  1. pain or discomfort with sexual activity may be the result of tight pelvic floor muscles, irritated vaginal tissue, and more. Chapters 3 and 5 offer techniques to cure this type of sexual dysfunction.
  2. weakness resulting in decreased libido and sexual response. Chapter 4 discusses pelvic floor and core strengthening to enhance sexual function.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur as early as 4 years old and into the elder years. For children, it is common to suffer from pelvic floor muscle incoordination whereas the elderly tend to suffer from weakness due from disuse; although, all ages can be diagnosed with any of the diagnoses described in this book.

The book offers basic tips for better bladder and bowel health, which in turn results in a healthier pelvic floor.

Anyone that suffers from any type of pelvic floor disorder: men, women or children. As well, the book discusses preventative measures for overall good health and wellness.

At Beyond Basics Physical Therapy we meet with each patient initially and look at the body as a whole. We evaluate the tone and any tightness, or weakness, in the pelvic floor and surrounding external muscles. We assess the strength and coordination of the pelvic floor, hip, back and abdominal muscles. We consult with the patient’s referring doctor or healthcare provider, then we develop an individualized treatment plan with the patient.

Treatment is one-on-one, hands-on, and lasts 60 to 90 minutes – in comfortable private treatment rooms. We work with each patient to change the structural causes of their pain—to interrupt the cycle of stress, pain and stress that leads to more anxiety, more pain and even more stress.

And, we teach preventive as well as restorative exercises to get patients back to a pain-free, active and normal life.

Treatment for abdomino-pelvic pain syndromes consists of myofascial trigger point release and connective tissue mobilization, including internal therapy, which is a gentle stretching of areas where abnormal tension is causing pain and impaired function,-- being sensitive to each patient’s physical and emotional comfort level.

We teach muscle relaxation and re-education, which helps with the pain and to retrain the bladder and bowels. We also teach postural re-education and overall relaxation techniques.

Treatment also may include:

  • Visceral manipulation and Craniosacral Therapy
  • Bio-feedback and electrical stimulation
  • Cold Laser therapy, Ultrasound
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Overall treatment is multi-disciplinary. We offer help with stress management, yoga, nutritional counseling, support groups and psychological services.

Physical therapy can eliminate patients’ frequency, urgency and retention of bladder and/or bowel, pelvic floor, abdominal and back pain, discomfort and/or weakness.