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Pelvic Floor Therapy for Women

Pelvic floor therapy is one of the pelvic floor services we offer to treat symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and disorders.

Your pelvic floor is the “hammock” of muscles that supports the organs in your pelvis. Your pelvic floor does a lot of the heavy lifting in your body. It supports your core and keeps everything in place in your body. When this foundation of muscles gets too tight, too weak, or damaged, you can develop a pelvic floor disorder.

Symptoms of pelvic floor disorders are common and treatable. Almost 25% of women in the U.S. are affected by one or more pelvic floor disorders.*

What is pelvic floor therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is physical therapy that targets muscles in the pelvic floor to help treat pain, weakness, and tightness and the symptoms that go along with them. By working with a pelvic floor therapist, you can retrain your muscles and gain back control of your body and your life.

We provide a wide range of treatment options including soft tissue mobilization, bowel and bladder retraining, internal and external biofeedback, joint mobilization, myofascial release, core integration strategies, and therapeutic exercises for strength, flexibility, and relaxation.

Conditions we treat with pelvic floor therapy

AHN provides individualized care for pelvic floor conditions  you may experience throughout your life.

We commonly treat:

  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate.
  • Fecal and urinary incontinence (leaking stool or urine).
  • Incomplete bladder emptying.
  • Bowel dysfunction (constipation or diarrhea).
  • Bladder, uterus, or rectal prolapse (fullness or bulging).
  • Sexual issues and pain from sex.
  • Pelvic and abdominal pain and swelling related to gynecologic cancer.
  • Pelvic pain (endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, postpartum, and post-surgical pain).
  • Pelvic girdle pain and sacroiliac joint (SI) dysfunction.
  • Vaginal stenosis (a narrowing of the vaginal opening).
  • Pudendal neuralgia (damage to the pelvic nerves resulting in chronic pelvic pain or other pelvic floor disorders).

What to expect during pelvic floor therapy

The same pelvic floor therapist will work with you throughout your physical therapy journey. They’ll address your issues and concerns and create an individualized plan of care for your recovery. All sessions are held in private rooms to ensure discretion.

Our therapists work closely with OB-GYN, behavioral health, urology, gastroenterology, colorectal surgery, and urogynecology staff to provide a wide variety of effective treatment options.

At your first appointment, your pelvic floor therapist will go over your medical and family history, symptoms, and goals you’d like to achieve. They will also do an external exam and an internal exam. They’ll look at your spine, joints, and muscles around your pelvis to check for pain, tightness, or tenderness. During the internal exam, they’ll use one or two gloved fingers to examine your pelvic floor muscles through your vagina or rectum. The internal exam helps them locate spasms, pain, tenderness, and prolapses.

After the external and internal exam, your pelvic floor therapist will determine what therapies will be the most helpful in relieving your symptoms.

Pelvic floor therapies

Pelvic floor exercises

Kegel exercises, the intentional tightening and relaxing of your pelvic floor muscles, are one of the exercises you’ll learn (or relearn) how to do in pelvic floor therapy. You may have heard of Kegel exercises, or even do them already, but if you’re having pain or dysfunction, doing them improperly could make your symptoms worse.

Pelvic floor biofeedback

Pelvic floor biofeedback helps you learn how to control, relax, or strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback uses special sensors attached to your body. As you tighten and relax specific muscles, your progress shows up on a computer screen. Pelvic floor biofeedback can help with urine and bowel leakage, constipation, and some types of pelvic pain.

Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS)

Similar to acupuncture, PTNS is a nonsurgical treatment for urinary issues including incontinence (leaking) and having to go frequently, which is also known as overactive bladder. During the treatment, a thin needle stimulates the tibial nerve, located in your ankle. This sends a message up to the nerve roots in your spine to block abnormal signals from your bladder and to prevent bladder spasms.

Contact us

For the Pittsburgh region, call (412) 854-7010 and for the Erie region, call (814) 899-7000, option 2, to request an appointment or learn more about AHN pelvic therapy services.