What is Internal Pelvic Floor Therapy and Why Does it Matter?
What is Internal Pelvic Floor Therapy and Why Does it Matter?

What is Internal Pelvic Floor Therapy and Why Does it Matter?

Natalie Berry


Natalie Berry

Internal pelvic floor therapy is a specialized treatment used to help individuals with overactive, tender, and/or shortened pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in core stability, urination, bowel movements, and sexual function. Pelvic floor therapy involves physical methods of strengthening and/or relaxing these muscles to improve control over these bodily functions.

Pelvic floor therapy is typically conducted by a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction. The therapist will begin with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s pelvic floor muscles to determine the extent of the dysfunction. This evaluation may include an internal exam to assess the strength and tone of the pelvic floor muscles.

During the therapy sessions, the physical therapist will teach the patient how to properly contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles through exercises and techniques such as biofeedback. The goal of internal pelvic floor therapy is to help patients regain control over their bodily functions and improve their quality of life.

Understanding Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that focuses on treating pelvic floor issues. The pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues support the bladder, rectum, uterus, and vagina. When these muscles and tissues are weakened or damaged, it can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as incontinence, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction.

Anatomy of the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a complex network of muscles, nerves, and connective tissue that spans from the pubic bone to the tailbone. It acts like a sling to support the pelvic organs and maintain bladder and bowel control. The pelvic floor muscles also play a crucial role in sexual function.

Conditions Treated with Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy can help treat a variety of conditions, including incontinence, urinary and fecal urgency, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse, and chronic pelvic pain. It can also improve sexual function and quality of life.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is a non-invasive treatment technique that can provide numerous benefits. It can help strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles, improve bladder and bowel control, reduce pain and discomfort, and increase sexual function. Pelvic floor physical therapy can also help patients avoid surgery and reduce their reliance on medication.

Overall, pelvic floor physical therapy is an effective treatment option for individuals experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction. It is a safe, non-invasive, and drug-free option that can provide long-lasting relief from symptoms and improve quality of life.

The Therapy Process

Internal pelvic floor therapy is a type of manual therapy used to treat various pelvic floor dysfunctions. The therapy process involves a thorough evaluation and assessment, followed by a customized treatment plan that includes a combination of techniques and interventions. The goal of internal pelvic floor therapy is to reduce pain, improve mobility, and restore healthy function to the pelvic floor muscles.

Initial Evaluation and Assessment

The therapy process begins with an initial evaluation and assessment performed by a trained pelvic floor physical therapist. The therapist will review the patient’s medical history and perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. The evaluation will help the therapist identify the type and severity of the pelvic floor dysfunction and determine the patient’s goals for therapy.

Common Treatment Techniques

Common treatment techniques used in internal pelvic floor therapy include manual therapy, exercises, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, education, relaxation, dilators, and stretches. Manual therapy involves the therapist using their hands to apply pressure to trigger points or to stretch and lengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Exercises such as kegels and pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback and electrical stimulation are techniques used to help patients become more aware of their pelvic floor muscles and to improve muscle function.

Advanced Interventions

For patients with more severe pelvic floor dysfunction, advanced interventions such as vaginal dilators or trigger point injections may be recommended. Vaginal dilators are used to help stretch and relax the pelvic floor muscles, while trigger point injections involve the injection of medication into trigger points to relieve pain and muscle tension.

Home Exercise and Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to in-office therapy sessions, patients will be given exercises and lifestyle modifications to perform at home. These may include kegel exercises, stretches, and other pelvic floor exercises. Lifestyle modifications such as yoga or changes in diet may also be recommended to help improve pelvic floor function.

Overall, internal pelvic floor therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for various pelvic floor dysfunctions. Patients should work closely with a trained pelvic floor physical therapist to develop a customized treatment plan that meets their individual needs and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of undergoing pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor therapy can provide a range of benefits, including improved bladder and bowel control, reduced pelvic pain, and better sexual function. It can also help with conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse, painful intercourse, and urinary or fecal incontinence.

What can one expect during a pelvic floor therapy session?

During a pelvic floor therapy session, a therapist will work with the patient to develop an individualized treatment plan based on their specific needs and symptoms. This may involve exercises to strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles, as well as education on proper posture and breathing techniques. The therapist may also use biofeedback or other devices to help the patient better understand and control their pelvic floor muscles.

How does pelvic floor therapy differ when performed during pregnancy?

Pelvic floor therapy can be especially beneficial for pregnant women, as it can help prepare the pelvic floor muscles for childbirth and reduce the risk of complications such as urinary incontinence. However, the therapist will need to take into account the unique needs and limitations of pregnancy when developing a treatment plan.

Are there any devices used in pelvic floor physical therapy, and how do they work?

Yes, there are several devices that may be used in pelvic floor physical therapy, including biofeedback machines, vaginal weights, and electrical stimulation devices. These devices can help the patient better understand and control their pelvic floor muscles, and may be particularly useful for patients with more severe symptoms.

What distinguishes internal from external pelvic floor therapy?

Internal pelvic floor therapy involves the use of techniques such as vaginal or rectal palpation to directly assess and treat the pelvic floor muscles from inside the body. External therapy, on the other hand, may involve exercises or massage techniques applied to the muscles from outside the body. Both types of therapy can be effective, and the choice of which to use will depend on the patient’s specific needs and symptoms.

Will insurance typically cover the costs associated with pelvic floor therapy?

The coverage for pelvic floor therapy will depend on the patient’s insurance plan. Some plans may cover the costs of therapy, while others may require the patient to pay out of pocket. It is important to check with the insurance company to determine what is covered and what is not.

Natalie Berry


Natalie Berry
Passionate about transforming lives through physical therapy.

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