What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) refers to a number of conditions affecting the reproductive, urinary, stability and other systems of the pelvis. PFD can refer to not only the connective tissues in the pelvis, but also to joint, muscular or nerve issues. Because pelvic floor dysfunction encompasses so many systems and areas of the body, the symptoms can vary widely and can include:

  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the rectum or vagina
  • Pain during urination
  • Difficulty completing bowel movements
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvis area or in the genitals

How is PFD treated?

Because the symptoms of PFD are so varied, treatment needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The main goal of PFD treatment is to reduce or eliminate pain and other symptoms so you can live more comfortably. To achieve this, PFD treatment can include everything from dietary changes to behavioral modification to home exercises. Manual therapy is also a very important part of PFD treatment.

Not every physical therapist or doctor is well-versed in the treatment of PFD, which is why it’s so important that you always search for a specialist. Dr. Grace is a pelvic health North Carolina specialist dedicated to PFD treatment. She will work with you to design a treatment plan that improves your quality of life while addressing any and all symptoms you’re experiencing. She will do so in an environment that feels safe and professional, so you never feel uncomfortable.

Dr. Grace also believes in a multidisciplinary approach to PFD treatment, in which mental health, diet and exercise all work together for the most effective solution to your problem.

What can I expect from a physical therapy session?

No two sessions are alike because they’re based on your own personal needs and where you are in your treatment plan. However, Dr. Grace focuses on evaluating and treating your PFD problems by combining a number of therapies. The initial session might involve several assessment tests and questions to help determine your treatment needs. It will also include patient education to help you understand what’s going on in your body and show you what changes you can make at home to help with treatment. Home follow-up is an essential part of your progress, which is why Dr. Grace puts so much importance on patient education.

After that initial visit, Dr. Grace will include treatments such as manual therapy on your low back, pelvis, hips or pelvic floor, stretching and strengthening exercises, postural adjustments, lifestyle and behavioral changes and biofeedback. To make the most of your treatment plan, you are encouraged to always ask questions and share concerns throughout the entire treatment process. If new therapies are introduced to your treatment plan, she will explain why and how you can benefit from them.

What is biofeedback and how can it help me?

Biofeedback is an excellent tool for PFD treatment. When performed with the guidance of a trained professional, biofeedback can help you retrain your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to work properly. This retraining can solve many issues, including urinary/fecal incontinence, chronic constipation, urinary urgency and even pelvic pain. Biofeedback is also useful to learn how to relax the pelvic muscles and learn muscle coordination.