Pelvic pain can appear in women and men of all ages. It usually manifests as a feeling of pain or pressure in the low abdomen or deep in the pelvis. Some women have pain at the opening of their vagina, particularly with penetration. People with pelvic pain often have trouble sitting or standing for long periods of time, although this also varies from person to person. Pelvic floor dysfunction can interfere with bladder, bowel, and sexual function and can greatly lower quality of life.
What Causes Pelvic Pain and Incontinence?
Pelvic floor dysfunction often causes or contributes to pelvic pain and urinary incontinence. The muscles may either be too tight or too weak.
Understanding what caused the pain or incontinence to appear in the first place can help during the treatment process. For example, pain and incontinence often appear after childbirth. During labor and delivery, the pelvic muscles are stretched and injured and sometimes cannot return to their normal condition on their own. In fact, more than 15 percent of women experience urinary incontinence after giving birth. In those cases, physical therapy can be used to address the problem directly and speed up healing.
Sometimes, pain and incontinence are caused by underlying medical conditions, including urinary tract infections, prostatitis, Interstitial Cystitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These issues usually require other medical treatment, but having pelvic floor therapy can help reduce symptoms and improve quality life.
The most important thing to remember is that neither pelvic pain nor incontinence are hopeless conditions. Both can be treated or managed so you can get back your quality of life and return to the activities you love.
Treating the Problem
Pelvic health therapy has great success in improving or resolving both pelvic pain and urinary incontinence. Treatment will likely include pelvic exercises to strengthen, coordinate, or release the pelvic muscles and may include internal manual treatment to help restore tissues to normal. In addition, patient education and behavioral changes are included to ensure that improvements last even after graduation from physical therapy! There is no reason to ‘just live with’ these issues – we’d love to help you restore your quality of life!