When it comes to your sexual health, pelvic floor therapy may be the answer you need. This form of treatment has assisted thousands of men and women overcome pelvic pain. Men and women can experience searing pain when touched or have ongoing pain during certain activities, such as intercourse or a gynecological exam. The truth is suffering from pelvic floor conditions is more common than you think. The good news is that with proper treatment, the pain can be overcome.
What is pelvic floor therapy?
Pelvic floor therapy is a guided strengthening of the pelvic floor muscle group. The pelvic muscles and ligaments are responsible for several essential functions, including:
- Supporting the pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, prostate, vagina, and uterus)
- Assisting in bladder and bowel control
- Aiding sexual arousal and orgasm
Inside the round-shaped pelvic floor, there are trigger points that, for known or unknown reasons, may become inflamed and sore. It can cause painful penetration, sexual dysfunction, and bladder and fecal incontinence. Pelvic floor physical therapists work with patients to therapeutically alleviate pain using a variety of proven techniques. (1)
Do I need pelvic floor therapy?
The question of whether you need pelvic floor therapy depends on your symptoms and medical advice. However, pelvic floor therapy not only helps you overcome severe pain, but it also boosts your mental health. The following are common symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. (2)
- Dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse)
- Pain while pregnant or after giving birth
- Vulvodynia (pain in the vulvar)
- Pain after prostate surgery or hysterectomy
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Overactive bladder (need to urinate all the time)
- Pelvic, vaginal, rectal or perineal pain
- Trouble sitting
- Difficulty going to the bathroom (constipation)
If you're suffering from any of these pelvic pain symptoms, we recommend speaking to a medical professional.
What conditions can pelvic floor therapy help alleviate?
Radiation Therapy Treatment
Pelvic physical therapy can help with easing scar tissue from radiation therapy. When you've had prostate cancer, uterine cancer, or breast cancer, one standard treatment is radiation therapy. It helps you fight cancer cells, but it also can leave pelvic scars and cause vaginal tissue to become thin and inflamed.
During menopause, women experience severe bodily changes. In a short amount of time, hormone levels fluctuate, causing vaginal atrophy or dryness. Another effect could be the length and shape of the vagina changes. Both menopausal symptoms make sexual intercourse painful. Using a vaginal wand restores elasticity and flexibility. (3)
Vaginismus is a health condition that causes involuntary spasms in the pelvic floor. It makes sexual penetration painful. Muscle contraction can occur from tampon insertion, a gynecological exam, or even sitting for prolonged periods. (4)
Vulvodynia is a pain in the vulva region of the pelvic floor muscle. The vulvar is the area outside the entrance of the vagina. Women can experience searing, stinging pain that happens from specific triggers, such as a touch or wearing tight clothing. Or the pain is chronic, making daily activities unbearable. (5)
Bladder control issues
When you have trouble holding your bladder for long periods or a sudden movement causes urine to come out, you may have bladder control concerns. Your pelvic floor muscles have become weak and need strengthening with pelvic physical therapy. The condition may have come about from giving birth, prostate surgery, or constipation.
What are pelvic floor therapy treatments?
Men and women have different treatment plans to choose from, depending on symptoms. The first step is to request an appointment for a physical therapy evaluation. With the expertise of your medical professional, you may try one or more of the following myofascial pelvic pain treatments. (6)
Physical therapists commonly prescribe vaginal dilators to improve women's health. Men also suffer from pelvic pain, and many dilator designs are small enough for rectal insertion, too.
The individual treatment plan varies, but vaginal dilators can be used with a licensed health professional or in the privacy of your house. It works by slowly lengthening and stretching the pelvic floor muscles as you insert the dilator inside your vagina or rectum.
Pelvic floor exercises
Your pelvic floor therapist may teach you how to contract and relax your pelvic floor. Along with the pelvic floor exercises, you may also learn breathing and tightening methods to make the therapy more healing. The goal is to increase flexibility, strengthen weak muscles, and stretch tight muscles.
Education and hygiene changes
Specially trained physical therapists will help you learn more about your pelvic floor anatomy and how each part works together. You may need to learn how personal habits affect your body. In some cases, you may need to change your diet or hygiene methods.
How long does it take for pelvic floor therapy to work?
Treating pelvic floor dysfunctions may take weeks or months. It depends on your health condition and treatment plan. Research shows that pelvic floor therapy has helped thousands of women find relief. In one clinical trial, 80% of women reported a reduction in pain after using vaginal dilators. (7)
Are there any side effects of pelvic floor therapy?
There are few side effects of pelvic floor therapy. The treatment is self-directed and based on your pain threshold. Through therapy, your pelvic muscle becomes more flexible and relaxed, and you can go as slow or as fast as you like. At first, your body may only handle a small amount of the TheraWand. However, as you undergo treatment, you'll find your body responds to the therapy, and you'll feel less pain.
When you're deciding to have pelvic floor therapy, you're evaluating your health and wellness. You have to decide if living with the pain is worth it, or taking the leap and overcoming your fears of beginning therapy.
When you have a pelvic pain condition, you may feel ashamed, overwhelmed, and isolated. At TheraWand, we understand this natural reaction and are here to help you. Begin your wellness journey today.