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Stay strong with physical therapy

PT specialists can help increase pelvic strength 

Have you ever needed physical therapy or known someone who has? If so, you’re likely familiar with the benefits physical therapy services can provide. However, many people are unaware that there are physical therapists who specialize in the pelvic floor. 

The pelvic floor is a muscle group that travels from the front to the back of the pelvis. The bladder, uterus and rectum sit on top of these muscles, and the muscles provide outlets for the pelvic organs and the vagina. These muscles are heavily involved in postural support as well as bowel, bladder and sexual function. 

A strong pelvic floor is important for support of the pelvic organs, maintaining continence and providing core or trunk stability. A variety of factors can contribute to weakness at the pelvic floor, including pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, surgery, cancer treatment for both men and women, and chronic straining. Alternatively, some people have difficulty fully relaxing their pelvic floor, which also can lead to problems. Pelvic health physical therapy can offer conservative management for all types of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Some things pelvic floor physical therapists treat include: 

• Urinary dysfunction, including urinary incontinence, frequency or urgency.

• Bowel dysfunction, including constipation or fecal incontinence. 

• Pelvic pain or pain with intercourse.

• Pelvic organ prolapse (dropping of the pelvic organs).

• Joint pain during pregnancy. 

• Postpartum diagnoses.

• Weakness or dysfunction following prostatectomy, which is the partial or complete surgical removal of the prostate.

If you are suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction, your doctor can write a referral to pelvic health physical therapy if this is appropriate for you.

LAUREN CARNEY is a physical therapist at UK HealthCare specializing in pelvic floor physical therapy. 

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