Six reasons you may need pelvic health physiotherapy
When women think about their pelvic health, they don’t tend to associate it with physiotherapy. After all, physiotherapy does not discriminate, and it tends to pertain to the entire body. Pelvic health is more often associated with gynaecology: an area peculiar to the female pelvic region. However, when we consider that physiotherapy does not discriminate on the basis of body parts, that explains why we could associate pelvic health with the aforementioned profession. Evoker Physiotherapy is just that: ‘the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery’, to quote Google Dictionary.
Though it is a specialised area, pelvic health physiotherapy focuses on issues associated with the pelvic floor muscles. This is what separates it from gynaecology, which focuses more on female reproductive health. The other key difference is pelvic health physiotherapy is not exclusively for women. Men can also experience pelvic floor weakness and associated pelvic issues. Although this list is not always applicable to both sexes, here are six reasons you may need pelvic health physiotherapy.
Frequency of urination will vary and is strongly correlated with liquid intake. However, on average, urination will happen five to seven times per day, and once during the night—if at all. If you are urinating upwards of seven times per day—and frequently throughout the night—to the point of irritation, then you may need to see a pelvic health physiotherapist. There could be a number of factors at play here, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), a smaller or tighter bladder, or a bladder that sends premature urination cues to the brain. This is something a pelvic health physiotherapist can help with.
Another urinary issue, latchkey urgency is a sudden and overwhelming urge to urinate. Bladders fill gradually, and so the need to urinate should build slowly rather than suddenly ‘strike’ out of nowhere. Traditionally, latchkey urgency is associated with putting the key in the door as you arrive home. The sound of running water can also trigger this phenomenon, though latchkey urgency won’t always have a trigger. Whether this is a psychological issue or purely physiological, pelvic health physiotherapy can help you reclaim bladder control.
Pelvic floor weakness
This may sound obvious, but pelvic floor physiotherapy helps to strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles team up with the diaphragm and transversusabdominis (aka abs) to form your core. If you work to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, by extension, you are strengthening your core—and core strength is important for physical health. Core strength comes with a wealth of benefits such as improved balance and stability, and a healthier posture.
Lower back and pelvic girdle pain
The pelvic floor connects to the bony pelvis, sacrum, and tailbone. Their connectivity may be a contributing factor to lower back and pelvic girdle pain. Pelvic health physiotherapy can help determine a) if this is the case and b) how to correct this pain.
Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain
Pelvic girdle pain is often associated with pregnancy. It can happen during or even years after pregnancy, affecting one in five women. Severity can vary from person to person, as can the exact causes. Potential causes range from altered pelvic mechanics and muscular imbalances to postural issues. A pelvic health physiotherapist can resolve pelvic girdle pain via tailored manual therapy, exercises, and advice.
For most women (and older girls), menstrual pain is a necessary evil that, whilst annoying, is ultimately manageable. For a quarter of women and older girls, menstrual pain can be intense enough to disrupt their daily lives. Some women and girls need to skip work or school, or pull out of social events or sports. Though pelvic health physiotherapists cannot give advice regarding hormone regulation, they can provide some useful pain management strategies. If a physiotherapist can lessen menstrual pain via something as simple as pelvic floor correction, then this could be a helpful first step to pain regulation without the use of hormones or drugs.