The Role of Physiotherapy in Treating Pelvic Floor, Urinary and Gastrointestinal Dysfunctions


Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) affects 30% of women and up to 10% of men. PFD refers to conditions such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions are more common after giving birth or frequent urinary infection. Although the are higher occurrence of symptoms in older adults but PFD should not be considered an acceptable part of aging.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor consists of a series of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that span from pubic bone (front) to tailbone (back), and between  Ischial Tuberosities (sit bones). They form a sling-like support for our abdominal contents, such as the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs. They are also an important component of core muscles that stabilize the low back, hip joints, and pelvic girdle.

When the muscles of the pelvic floor begin to lose function or if they are too tight, symptoms will be experienced and may include:

  • Urinary incontinence (commonly post-partum, post-prostatectomy)
  • Urinary leakage
  • Painful urination
  • Incomplete emptying
  • Pain for women during intercourse
  • Sexual dysfunction in both men & women
  • Pelvic organ prolapse and heavy feeling in pelvis or vagina
  • Interstitial Cystitis (long term inflammation of the bladder wall)
  • Pain or muscle spasm in the low back and pelvic
  • Constipation, straining or pain during bowel movements
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrheal state

In order to maintain bowel, bladder and sexual function, the pelvic floor must contract and relax effectively. Kegel exercises are commonly prescribed, but they are often either performed incorrectly, or may even be contributing to the issue.

How does Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy help?

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a very treatable condition, usually though the use of biofeedback and physiotherapy.Physiotherapists are uniquely qualified to treat pelvic floor dysfunction with conservative management techniques. A specially trained physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment of posture, alignment, breathing pattern, muscle recruitment, and to identify areas of tissue tension. For most people suffering from above mentioned conditions, physiotherapy usually has a dramatic and positive effect on pain and dysfunction and improves quality of life. Treatments usually include:

  • Using external and internal manual techniques to evaluate the function of the pelvic floor muscles and teaching appropriate exercises to either strengthen or relax pelvic floor muscles
  • Teaching behavior changes, such as avoiding pushing or straining when urinating and having a bowel movement
  • Teaching how to c Pelvic health physiotherapists are integral part of care for urinary incontinence and many gastrointestinal conditions such as IBSontract & relax the muscles in the pelvic floor area using manual treatment or Biofeedback therapy
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Applying similar treatment techniques after surgery

In addition to internal treatment, a Pelvic Health physiotherapist will explore and address areas in clients’ daily life that may be contributing to their pain/dysfunction, such as diet, voiding patterns, and stress management.

Physiomobility Pelvic Health program is directed by Ingrid Yu, a physiotherapist with extensive post graduate training in Pelvic floor physiotherapy. We will always be in contact with your referring physician and/or specialist to update them on your progress.

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