Harvard Medical School defines the pelvic floor as a bowl-shaped set of muscles that provide structural support to your bladder, rectum, and bowel. In short, these muscles hold all the pelvic muscles together so they can function properly.
If the muscles of the pelvic floor are too tight or stiff, it can lead to inflammation and pain. For women, the pelvic floor also comprises the cervix, vagina, and uterus.
Let’s talk about common issues with the pelvic floor and what you can do about them:
If any of the pelvic muscles or surrounding connective tissues get injured or torn, it’s possible to develop a pelvic floor disorder. Other than pain in the muscles, the condition might also lead to issues with bowel and bladder movements.
One of the most common pelvic floor disorders that women deal with is pelvic organ prolapse. This happens when the pelvic muscles are no longer strong enough to support the organs. As a result, they descend into the vagina. In extreme cases, the cervix may experience enough pressure that it comes out of the vaginal opening.
If the muscles can’t support the bladder and it is dislocated, a condition called urinary incontinence takes place. Both men and women are susceptible to it. It involves a loss of control over urine function or periodic urges to urinate.
This can also cause bowel control problems such as fecal incontinence. Common symptoms include unexpected and sudden leaking of stool and other excretions from the rectum.
Pelvic physical therapy has long been carried out to address multiple pelvic floor disorders. Some common conditions that can be treated are pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and fecal incontinence.
The therapist carries out the process by performing manipulations on the pelvic floor muscles. This is done using the hands by applying varying degrees of pressure to the target muscles. When the muscles are rhythmically relaxed and contracted, the pelvic pain is alleviated. This type of therapy works the same way physical therapy does with other muscles.
When the muscles are stretched by applying controlled pressure, they become relaxed and loosen up. This heals the stiffness in the muscles and makes them stronger. Your therapist might even suggest pelvic massage to reduce the symptoms of pain.
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