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What Is Pelvic Wellness and What Can You Do About It?


Oh no, I need to go to the bathroom again!

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered why some women have problems with bladder and bowel function, and others do not? Let’s discuss what causes some women to have dysfunction in these areas?

Pelvic floor dysfunction could be the result of many things, including pelvic floor weakness, ligamentous laxity, surgeries, childbirth, heredity, muscle spasms, retention, urinary frequency, as well as some health conditions. Diabetes can be one of the conditions that lead to complications with your bowel and bladder. Having blood sugar levels that are above target over time can lead to nerve damage, also known as neuropathy. This can, in turn, lead to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. When neuropathy affects the bladder or bowel, it can cause urine or fecal leakage. If a person is overweight and has diabetes, the weight may complicate matters with increased intra-abdominal pressure on both bowel and bladder. The combination of increased abdominal weight, increased intra abdominal pressure, and decreased pelvic floor strength, can lead to urinary incontinence.

What is incontinence?

It is a loss of bladder or bowel function without one’s control. It happens involuntarily. There are several types of incontinence.

  • Stress urinary incontinence can happen with sudden movements and increased stress on the pelvic floor. Such instances include coughing, sneezing, jumping, or laughing.
  • Urge incontinence occurs when one cannot deny a strong urge to use the bathroom and may be walking to the toilet but leaks on the way. People with urge incontinence have issues making it to the bathroom “in time”. They may also leak urine as they are turning the key in the lock to enter the house or when they see their driveway. Urge incontinence usually has a trigger that can make people have a sensation of urge that they cannot overcome.
  • Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. The person dealing with mixed urinary incontinence may leak urine with coughing or sneezing and may leak when they have a strong urge just by walking into the bathroom.
  • Fecal incontinence occurs when one cannot hold his or her bowel movement, and fecal matter moves through the rectum and out the anus without muscular control. This may happen during physical activity like running, walking, or with extreme coughing. It may also occur in those who experience other gastrointestinal conditions. These can be embarrassing moments for anyone, but there is help available.

Pelvic floor physical therapists can help.

Pelvic floor physical therapists are licensed Physical Therapists who have advanced training specifically in the areas of pelvic wellness and dysfunction. Here are ways in which they can help:

  • Assist in reducing and resolving urinary and fecal frequency, urgency, post-void dribbling, and incontinence.
  • Assist with pelvic pain during intercourse and vaginal dryness which can develop as a result of menopause.
  • Manage diuretics and other medications which can lead to frequent urination.
  • Train pelvic floor muscles to improve strength and thus prevent leakage. Kegel exercises are just the beginning. Physical Therapists can help with isolating the pelvic floor and core muscles and teach how to make them various exercises.
  • Train your pelvic floor muscles to relax in order to completely empty both bowel and bladder. Breathing exercises are often taught to assist with relaxation techniques.
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