May 21, 2019

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Physical Therapy

By: Brittany Deuso, PT, DPT


Do your patients complain of “leaking” with physical activity, coughing or sneezing?  Is pelvic pain interfering with one’s lifestyle or relationships? Pelvic floor dysfunction can be embarrassing and may put a damper on an individual’s social and personal life.  Most people don’t automatically think of physical therapy for problems associated with the pelvic floor; however, there is great evidence of success for both male and female patients.  In most cases, your patient can decrease pain and stay dry without surgery or medication.  Specialized physical therapy may be the best option to improve his/her quality of life.

With many advances in physical therapy research over the years, a specialized field called pelvic floor PT has developed.  These thought-to-be taboo topics are often left behind closed doors, and many individuals have endured suffering and embarrassment from these issues for years. Pelvic floor physical therapy involves evaluation and treatment of multiple conditions including pelvic floor pain, stress and urge incontinence, and bowel dysfunction, to name a few. Specialists in this field are seeing great success in treating this sometimes overlooked patient population, both male and female.  We are even finding that pain in the low back, abdomen, or thighs may be related to weakness or tightness of the pelvic floor.

Your patients shouldn’t settle for thinking that some urinary leakage is normal because of previous prostate surgery, childbirth, or simply “getting older”.  Leakage is never normal, and neither is pain.

Physical Therapy can help patients with . . .
• Pelvic pain with toileting activities, sexual intercourse, or specific movements

• Leakage with sneezing, coughing, physical activity, or sudden urgency

• Chronic diagnoses, such as endometriosis

• Recovery from prostate surgeries, gynecological procedures, or abdominal surgeries

• Pelvic organ prolapse

• Prenatal and postpartum care

If you have patients with any of the above complaints, consider referring them to a pelvic floor physical therapist.   The initial evaluation and treatment may include, but are not limited to, a medical history, external and internal muscle assessment, posture and breathing assessment, biofeedback, manual therapy, and behavioral modification.  Many patients can be managed via home program, and only infrequent follow up visits may be needed to achieve results.

Brittany Deuso, PT, DPT is a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist and Clinic Director with Pivot Physical Therapy’s Great Bridge location in Chesapeake, VA.