Pelvic Floor Discussion
In today’s world, any condition within the pelvis especially about bowels, bladder, or sexual organs has become a very sensitive and uncomfortable topic to discuss medically. Patients tend to ignore or avoid discussing any issues with their medical providers that involve using the bathroom or difficulty during intimate relations. The unstated fact of pelvic health is that a pelvic condition or disorder is actually very common in men and women of all age groups. A study, by Harris Interactive and published in Urologic Nursing, found that 32% of Americans between the ages of 30-70 have urinary difficulty (Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, 2017). Also, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, approximately 17% of men have experienced some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction (Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, 2017). This population needs to feel comfortable talking about these things and get the diagnosis and treatment they deserve because the majority of cases are treatable. Physical therapy can diagnose and treat these conditions. So…. Let’s talk about the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles that expand across the bottom of the pelvis. They play a key role in controlling the passage of urine and feces, supporting the spine, and sexual function. These muscles also work together to maintain proper positioning of internal organs as the body changes positions. Due to the pelvic floor’s many distinct functions, several problematic issues can arise. The most common conditions are incontinence, sensation changes, over-activity, prolapse, pain during urination, and menstrual cycle difficulties. Each of these conditions can be embarrassing, painful, and debilitating. The thing to remember is that the pelvic floor is still a group of muscles that can be strained, in spasm, torn, over-active and/or even underactive causing these conditions. Similar to other muscles in the body, they can be treated and improved with physical therapy. A therapist can diagnose and treat with stretching, strengthening, and other specialized interventions to improve function and reduce pain.
This was an introduction to the pelvic floor and the physical therapy specialties of both women’s and men’s health. Stay tuned to our blog for more in depth pelvic health topics and articles addressing specific conditions.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: 6 Myths Busted! The Kaplan Center. https://kaplanclinic.com/articles/pelvic-floor-dysfunction-6-myths-busted/. Published May 8, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles · The facts · Continence Foundation of Australia. https://www.continence.org.au/pages/how-do-pelvic-floor-muscles-help.html. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Let’s Talk Pelvic Floor
Katherine Caramante, PT, DPT