Treating Pelvic Floor Conditions with Therapy

Women improving their pelvic floor muscles through muscle stretching exercises.If you struggle with tight or weak pelvic floor muscles and are dealing with urinary or bowel frequency, urinary or fecal incontinence, pain or prolapse, physical therapy can provide great relief or even resolution.

These pelvic floor muscles help in holding your bladder and uterus (women), and prostate (men) and rectum in place. The contractions and relaxation of the muscles also help control your urine flow, bowel movements, and sexual functioning.

Causes of Pelvic Floor Disorders

  • Obesity
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repeated straining (such as during a bowel movement or with a chronic cough)
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Genetics
In Women
  • Pregnancy-related changes in the body
  • Straining during childbirth
  • Damage to the pelvic floor during childbirth
  • Decreased estrogen levels during menopause

Physical Therapy Treatment

During your first visit, you and your physical therapist will discuss your health history, concerns and current symptoms. An internal exam may be conducted to assess your pelvic floor muscles and help determine causes. After a thorough evaluation, the physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan that will include a detailed explanation and demonstration of exercises to do at home. Your physical therapist may recommend additional specialists and will work closely with your physicians to keep them updated on your progress.

  • Pelvic floor muscle training
  • Abdominal and core strengthening
  • Instructions on how to stand, sit or move with less stress on the pelvic floor
  • Bladder training
  • Dietary modifications
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Techniques performed manually by the therapist to stretch soft tissue
  • Using sensors to monitor your muscle activity on a computer
  • Electrical stimulation, which can help muscles contract more strongly.

Download our patient information packet, All About Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, and related handouts for further information:

Frequently Asked Questions