It might make you uncomfortable, but it’s time to talk about pelvic health. Pelvic health includes all things that are embarrassing to discuss, but important to address. Many are treatable! Things like:
- Urinary leakage, frequency or urgency (incontinence)
- Pelvic pain
- Diastasis rectus abdominus (when abdomen muscles divide postpartum)
- Post-surgical weakness from abdominal surgery, hysterectomy or gynecological surgery
- Scar tissue restrictions
- Painful sex (a sign of muscles being too tight)
- Pelvic prolapse (a sign of muscles being too loose)
While many of these symptoms and conditions are common, especially among the elderly and women who are or have recently been pregnant, incontinence is by far the most common.
Approximately 13 million Americans are incontinent: 85 percent of whom are women. Urinary incontinence can start early. It affects 4 out of 10 women, 1 out of 10 men and 17% of kids below the age of 15. 38% to 40% of women experience stress urinary incontinence and 41% of elite female athletes.
Pelvic health issues like these can have a negative impact emotionally, physically and financially. For example, someone who suffers with urinary incontinence may find it difficult to find suitable employment; embarrassing situations that reoccur can lead to isolation and eventually depression; running or aerobics become something to avoid when you suffer from incontinence.
Often, people go years or their whole lives powering through these daily struggles because they are too embarrassed to bring it up. The good news is that approximately 80 percent of those affected by urinary incontinence can be cured or improved.
Neuromuscular control is needed to create awareness of the contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles and is a main goal of physical therapy. An example of a treatment regimen includes Kegel muscle exercises emphasizing the ability to fully relax the muscles after a contraction. Patients would attend physical therapy sessions 1-2 days a week for about 2 months.
If incontinence is your issue, the thought of a car ride to Green Bay a couple times a week is anxiety inducing. Door County Medical Center has a team of physical therapists in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay who have participated in specialized training on adult pelvic health and pelvic floor muscles. These amazing physical therapists are prepared to listen to you with compassion and help you get back to living your life.
Sister Bay: Lori Pothast, PT and Jen Gaddes, DPT. Sturgeon Bay: Crystal Pomeroy, DPT, Anna Deboer, DPT.
Patients are examined by one of our highly skilled physical therapists in a very discreet private treatment room. They provide education, home exercises and treatments to manage symptoms.
According to Lori Pothast, PT, “You don’t need to accept this as a way of life; there’s something you can do about it. Talk to your doctor. Mention that you are having problems. We can teach you muscular exercises over 6-8 weeks to improve control for the rest of your life. There are solutions.”
You deserve better! Talk to your primary physician today about physical therapy for pelvic health.