Pelvic health is a topic not often talked about due to embarrassment, and therefore few are aware of what pelvic health is. First it is important to know what the pelvic floor is. The “pelvic floor” are the muscles that attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum. These muscles support the pelvic organs as well as control bladder, bowel and sexual function. When these muscles are damaged, become weakened, or are too tight and restricted, it leads to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Because the subject of pelvic health is widely unknown, many are unaware there are physical therapists who specialize in strengthening, re-training, or relaxing these muscles and help correct PFD.
Here are three common misconceptions about pelvic physical therapy:
Men do not need to worry about pelvic health
Although almost one-quarter of women face pelvic floor disorders1, everyone has pelvic floor muscles, therefore men can suffer from PFD as well. The conversation of pelvic pain, incontinence and other pelvic dysfunctions are most often geared towards women, however men also suffer from these problems. On average pelvic physical therapists patients are 20% - 30% men. The most common reasons men see a pelvic physical therapist are due to complaints of pain in the pelvic area, prostate issues, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
Postpartum women only see pelvic physical therapists
Though this is a common reason to see a pelvic physical therapist, there are other motives. Some of the most common objectives for seeing a pelvic physical therapist include incontinence, bladder dysfunction, prolapse, poor pelvic alignment, pain with intercourse and pelvic pain due to a surgery, fall, pelvic instability or chronic disease such as endometriosis.
Pelvic floor dysfunctions are just a normal part of aging
Yes, pelvic floor dysfunctions become much more common in those over 50, but it is not something you have to live with. Pelvic physical therapists can help. Simple behavior changes, exercises and manual therapy are all tool to help reduce the symptoms of a PFD or eliminate them.
1. Roughly One Quarter of U.S. Women Affected By Pelvic Floor Disorders, September 17, 2008 News Release - National Institutes of Health (NIH). (n.d.). Retrieved May 09, 2016, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/roughly-one-quarter-us-women-affected-pelvic-floor-disorders
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