All of us have a pelvic floor consisting of muscles that support our reproductive and urinary tracts. This muscle is what enables us to control our bowels and bladders. In women, the pelvic floor is located below the uterus, behind the bladder, and in front of the vagina and rectum areas. In men, the pelvic floor occupies the bottom of the pelvis.
What is Pelvic Floor Therapy and when is it necessary?
When the muscles that make up the pelvic floor loosen or become too stretched often after childbirth or due to aging, the muscle tone can undergo alteration. In the same manner, if a person undergoes stress or depression, the pelvic floor can tighten or get restricted, thereby leaving the muscle tone also altered.
Pelvic floor therapy in NYC seeks to tighten the muscles that make up the pelvic floor and alleviate any signs of muscle weakening through muscle coordination, relaxation, and strengthening. The purpose of this is for patients in and around NYC to gain back their maximum control over sexual functions, urination, and bowel movements.
Pelvic floor therapy is classified as a minimally invasive treatment and thus has been highly recommended as a first-line method to treat any sort of pelvic floor dysfunction including fecal or urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Moreover, any pain experienced while having sex may also be due to an altered pelvic floor and may require pelvic floor therapy as a treatment.
What happens during a pelvic floor therapy session?
Before undergoing the pelvic floor therapy, you will be put under initial evaluation which comes in two parts: first, your physical therapist will check your medical history and talk with you about your complaints and the symptoms you are experiencing; and then after that, you will be undergoing a physical exam consisting of an internal and external component. The internal exam is where your physical therapist will thoroughly assess your pelvic floor muscles in terms of elasticity, tone, tenderness, and pain. To do this, your therapist will insert one or two lubricated gloved fingers into your vagina and/or rectum to examine your pelvic floor muscles by touch. Meanwhile, during the external exam, your lumbar spine, muscles, and sacroiliac joints surrounding the pelvis will be assessed, including the iliopsoas, piriformis, and rectus abdominis. This is to check for any tightness, tenderness, or pain that you may be experiencing. Moreover, your pelvic floor’s movement with your breathing patterns and your ability to execute voluntary contraction and relaxation of your pelvic floor will also be examined. Once everything is done, a clinical assessment will be released stating the possible source of your symptoms and follow-up treatment sessions will be scheduled from there.
Depending on your clinical assessment, the types of treatments identified to be most effective will be performed. This may include or involve:
- Workouts like Kegel that are designed to contract or relax your pelvic floor muscles;
- Biofeedback which uses a sensor pressure probe that will be inserted into your vagina or rectum. This sensor will gauge the strength of your pelvic floor muscle contractions;
- Electrical stimulation that will trigger activation of pelvic floor muscle;
- Weighted cones that are to be inserted into the vagina or rectum to enhance resistance during contraction workouts;
- Vaginal dilators or other authorized cylindrical objects varying in width that are also to be inserted into your vagina so that your pelvic floor muscles will stretch and relax right after; and,
- Manual therapy that your physical therapist will carry out internally to calm your pelvic floor muscles and alleviate trigger points.
Throughout the session, you will be handled by your physical floor therapist herself who should be specialized and highly trained for such treatments. Before getting pelvic floor therapy in NYC, it pays to do a research first. To ensure safety and quality of work, your physical therapist should have a certificate honoring her achievements and trainings in the field.
Pelvic Floor Therapy NYC – What does it treat?
Pelvic floor therapy NYC seeks to address all types of disorders in the pelvic floor that can affect its functionality, a.k.a. pelvic floor dysfunction. The dysfunction can be categorized as low tone or hypotonic, or high tone or hypertonic. They vary in terms of muscle tone involved or the amount of resting tension when the muscle is not in contract which can cause pelvic floor dysfunction when the tone goes too much or too little.
Low Tone Dysfunctions
A low-toned muscle means it is looser and more relaxed than normal which makes it hard to contract actively. As a result, the patient’s core will not be able to get enough support, consequently affecting his or her control over bladder and bowel movements.
Pelvic floor dysfunctions that are categorized as low tone include:
- Stress Incontinence or when the patient’s urine leaks involuntarily during activities with high intra-abdominal pressure like sneezing, squatting, coughing, and laughing;
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse or when the pelvic organs like the bladder, rectum, uterus, or even vagina descend abnormally;
- Anal Incontinence or if the patient’s stool, fluid, or even gas leaks from the rectum without his or her control; and,
- Overactive bladder or if the patient frequently feels an urgent need to urinate due to the bladder’s involuntary contraction.
High Tone Dysfunctions
A high-toned pelvic floor muscle on the other hand means the muscle is more restricted and tighter than it is supposed to be, resulting in pain when you try to do stretching or muscle relaxation. Excessively tight pelvic floor muscles may also lead to muscle spasms, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse or gynecological exams during the insertion phase.
Pelvic floor dysfunctions that are categorized as high tone include:
- Vaginismus or when the muscles around the vagina involuntary contract or manifest convulsive movement during penetration;
- Vulvodynia or when the excessive tightening of muscles causes discomfort and pain in the vulva; and,
- Pelvic Floor Myofascial Pain or any other chronic pain that can be felt due to the muscles being too restricted.
Should you be scheduled for pelvic floor therapy, make sure to wear clothes that you are comfortable in especially in the lower part. It will also help if you already have a list of questions or concerns prepared to make sure that you and your therapist are on the same page.