Yup, that’s right gals (and guys). We have muscles that make up our pelvic bowl, supporting our every move. There are 3 layers of muscles that run from your pubic bone to your tailbone (coccyx). These muscles turn on before our every move and are an integral part of our core, along with our diaphragm, deep abdominal and back muscles. The pelvic floor stabilizes our pelvis, but it also aides in bowel and bladder function and sexual pleasure.
Like, any other muscle in our body, these muscles can become tight or weak. Whether we have overworked our muscles with high intensity sports, carrying a growing baby, birthed a baby or fell on your tailbone as a child…our pelvic floors can send us signals making life downright miserable. Symptoms may show up as pain with sitting, pain with sex, unable to hold in the pee when we sneeze, rushing to the bathroom every half hour or a feeling like our insides are going to fall out the bottom (literally).
You may be horrified, but take a deep breath and remember you are not alone. 1 in 3 women will experience a pelvic floor dysfunction in their lifetime. All of these symptoms are common, but NOT normal. More often than not, these symptoms can be treated effectively and efficiently with conservative treatment without medication or surgery.
A pelvic floor physical therapist specializes in assessment of the pelvic floor, in addition to the entire body. We look at how you hold your body, how you move, your strength and flexibility as well as how you breathe and even what you eat and drink during the day. We assess your pelvic floor externally and internally (without stir-ups or speculum) to assess if your muscles are weak, tight and/or uncoordinated. We can assess if you have a pelvic organ prolapse and if you have scar tissue that may be causing pain.
You are more than your pelvic floor, and pelvic floor PT is more than kegels. A thorough evaluation and pelvic floor assessment will lead to the most appropriate treatment plan for YOU. So before you give up, or try to do it on your own, just do as the rest of the world does, and go see your nearest pelvic floor PT.