As many as one in four women will have pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lives. Pelvic floor issues also happen in men, though not as frequently. Many people associate pelvic floor therapy with stopping urinary incontinence. Bladder leaks might be the more common reason that both women and men seek help, but it is by far only a small part of pelvic floor health. Although awareness of pelvic floor therapy has significantly increased over the past few years, there are still many women and men who are just not sure just how many conditions a trained professional can help them improve. Here are 9 reasons to see a pelvic floor specialist now. Hint: It is much more than stopping bladder leaks.
What type of problems can be helped?
Pelvic floor health professionals can improve symptoms in the following areas:
- Bladder Dysfunction
- Bowel Dysfunction
- Sexual Dysfunction
1. Bladder leaks or urinary incontinence is the inability to control the loss of urine. It can be a few drops or enough to wet through your underwear. If you are losing a few drops when you cough, sneeze or exercise, it is not normal.
2. Urinary frequency is going to the bathroom too frequently. If you are running to the bathroom and this is affecting your productivity, social, or quality of life then it might be time to seek help.
3. Nocturia – Are you getting up to go to the bathroom more than twice per night? Pelvic floor professionals can stop that annoying occurrence so that you can get the rest you need to function the next day.
4. Problems emptying your bladder – urine should come out easily without straining. Prolonged straining to empty can have serious consequences if left untreated.
5. Constipation and straining– Chronic constipation can cause problems in the pelvic floor if left untreated. Just as with urine, the bowels should empty on a regular basis without undue straining and effort. This can lead to number six on the list.
6. Muscle spasms and pain in the rectum- Constant straining and pushing can lead to tight muscles and pain or muscle spasm in the pelvic region.
7. Painful intercourse or Dyspareunia can be caused by several different reasons. One of the more common are vaginal dryness or narrowing of the vaginal opening. If intercourse is not comfortable all is not lost, there are interventions that can help to make sex enjoyable.
General Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
8. Pelvic organ prolapses– the three primary organs of the pelvic floor (Uterus, Bladder, and Rectum) can shift from their usual position and cause pain and discomfort. Prolapses can also significantly affect your quality of life since the discomfort that they cause can make participation in daily activities difficult and sometimes impossible.
9. Low back pain– Problems and dysfunction of the pelvic floor can manifest in low back pain. Each pelvic floor professional is skilled in orthopedics and can help to find the cause and alleviate the pain in your low back.
The average woman will wait 6.5 years before looking for solutions to their pelvic problems. If this sounds like you don’t let another year go by suffering in silence. There are many reasons that might prohibit or make it more difficult to find the help you need. Lack of insurance, finances, or difficulty finding the right help should not deter you from living worry-free.
Stress can also contribute to challenges with your pelvic floor as I discuss in the article, The Connection Between Stress and Your Pelvic Floor.
One of the primary reasons that myself and other colleagues frequently hear is that many people are not sure that there is help available. Your personal physician may be able to answer your questions. Specialists such as urologists, urogynecologists, pelvic floor therapists, and health coaches with pelvic floor training will be able to help you define your problem and find solutions.
You can protect the health of your pelvic floor. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your physician or health professional to rule out any serious illness or conditions. This article is not a substitute for medical advice and diagnosis.
If you’re struggling with bladder leakage and/or urge incontinence and accidents, I invite you to check out my signature program, STOP WORRYING ABOUT BLADDER LEAKS, and schedule your free consultation today. I’ve successfully helped hundreds of women treat urinary incontinence – and can help you discover the tools to stop leaking and start living life again without worry. www.thepelviccoach.com
Dr. Shelia Craig Whiteman PT DPT CLT/ The Pelvic Coach
Dr. Shelia Craig Whiteman DPT, CLT is a doctor of physical therapy and a health coach. While practicing physical therapy, she specialized in pelvic health, lymphedema, and oncology. As a health coach, Dr. Shelia is particularly passionate about helping women to reduce and stop bladder leaks.
She is the best-selling author of “To Pee or Not To Pee?” The Guide for Reducing and Eliminating Urinary Incontinence. Her second book, Stop Worrying About Bladder Leaks, further explains how and why bladder leaks can happen. As an advocate for health and wellness, she participates in several educational presentations and volunteer activities in her community.
Dr. Shelia is a certified fitness instructor and has taught fitness and pilates classes over the past 20 years. She lives with her family in Mitchellville, Maryland.
Watch Dr. Shelia’s video on Bladder Leaks here: