Women’s Health: Physical Therapy for a Leaky Bladder and Pelvic Pain
Do you have a leaky bladder? Are you always in search of a bathroom? Have you been dealing with pelvic pain for years? If so, you are not alone. Millions of women suffer in silence every day. Fortunately, women’s health physical therapy, also known as pelvic health physical therapy, can help fix these problems and heal pelvic pain.
Why do I hurt “down there”?
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing problems in the pelvic region. The pelvic floor is a web of muscles, connective tissues and nerves in the area below the navel that support the uterus/vagina, bladder and intestines.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be caused or worsened by childbirth, infections, poor posture, trauma, sexual abuse, surgery and/or hormonal changes due to aging and obesity. Over time, the muscles become damaged or tight. For some women, symptoms manifest as incontinence, pain and pressure in the bladder or constipation. Others experience a constant burning sensation in the vulva, sexual dysfunction or chronic low back or pelvic pain.
Is there a pill for that?
Anticholinergics are the medication most commonly prescribed to relieve muscle or pelvic spasms, but the medication’s side effects may outweigh the benefits. Dry mouth, dry eyes and constipation are just some of the negative effects.
Can lifestyle changes help?
Lifestyle modifications can be very beneficial in improving the symptoms experienced with pelvic floor disorders. For example, weight loss can decrease the load on the pelvic floor muscles; quitting smoking can stop the chronic cough that increases stress on the pelvic floor; and, avoiding certain beverages such as caffeine and alcohol, which can stimulate the bladder, may also help control symptoms.
How can a women’s health physical therapist help me?
A women’s health physical therapist is specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of pelvic-floor dysfunction. The first step to relief is to determine the root cause of the problem. Often, there are a variety of contributing issues. Good Shepherd therapists begin by taking an in-depth history and performing a physical examination to find out why you hurt. They will then develop an individual treatment plan and a home exercise routine for you.
At Good Shepherd, each patient receives a customized program that can reduce the need for medication and even surgery. A program may include exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, core strengthening and stretching, relaxation techniques and electrical stimulation therapy. The good news is that pelvic health physical therapy can help you take back control of your bladder and life!