Skip to main content

Can physical therapy help with pelvic floor weakness? 

Can physical therapy help with pelvic floor weakness? 

If you’ve recently given birth, are pregnant, or have had a hysterectomy, you’re likely familiar with the symptoms of pelvic floor weakness. The pelvic floor, a group of muscles that serve as a kind of foundation for internal organs, can become weaker following labor and delivery, because of significant surgery or even injury. When those weakened muscles are no longer able to provide the necessary support for pelvic organs, you may experience any one of a range of uncomfortable symptoms. 

Symptoms to watch for

Pelvic floor weakness, also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, can cause a range of symptoms. Here are a few of the most common signs:

  • Frequent bathroom visits 
  • Difficulty starting and stopping urination 
  • Straining or pushing during bowel movements 
  • Constipation
  • Fecal and/or urinary incontinence 
  • Discomfort or pain while urinating 
  • Unexplained low back pain 
  • Pelvic region, genital, or rectal pain 

Of course, many of these symptoms may indicate other possible medical issues, so it’s important to seek an official diagnosis from a physician. 

How physical therapy can help

Postpartum physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy designed to help women recover from the physical changes and challenges that can occur after giving birth or having surgery. Without treatment, these changes can lead to long-term issues such as incontinence, pelvic pain, and back problems. Postpartum physical therapy can also help women return to their daily activities and exercise routines safely and effectively.

Postpartum physical therapy specifically targets these key outcomes:  

  • Improved pelvic organ support for the bladder, uterus, prostate, and rectum. By strengthening these muscles, you should experience a reduction in symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse, such as urinary or fecal incontinence and pelvic pressure.
  • Enhanced bowel and bladder control through specific exercises. By improving muscle tone and coordination, therapy can alleviate issues such as urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, and leakage as well as bowel irregularities.
  • Alleviation of pelvic pain through a combination of manual techniques, stretching, relaxation exercises, and biofeedback therapy that should reduce pelvic floor muscle tension.
  • Restoration of sexual function, including arousal, sensation, and orgasm. Therapy focuses on improving muscle strength, relaxation, and coordination, improving confidence, and enjoyment in their sexual experiences.
  • Pre and postnatal benefits, including reduced pain and discomfort during delivery, as well as assisting in perineal healing and reduced likelihood of incontinence.  

When is the best time to book an appointment? 

Whether you’ve recently given birth or are recovering from pelvic surgery such as a hysterectomy, incorporating pelvic floor strengthening physical therapy can help reduce symptoms and reduce recovery time. And if you’re anticipating surgery or delivery, beginning pelvic floor physical therapy now can reduce the risk of symptoms overall. Even if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction for months or even years, physical therapy can be part of your path to improved health. 

No matter where you are in your journey through pelvic floor weakness, you may want to consider a visit with a specialist at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. The physicians at DOC Orthopaedics can also work with you to develop a physical therapy plan to address your symptoms and develop a personalized comprehensive care plan to help alleviate it. 

Share This