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Help for Pelvic Area Dysfunction

By Zainab Kothari, PT, MS, DPT

As a society we are uncomfortable talking about dysfunction and pain in the pelvic region including urinary and fecal incontinence, constipation, and problems with sexual performance. Patients are embarrassed to talk about their issues and thus, continue to live with problems which can significantly affect their quality of life.

Patients who want to seek help may be unable to do so due to lack of awareness, difficulty with communication about the subject and symptoms and limited access to an appropriate pelvic floor medical specialist, who is specially trained to help individuals with these symptoms. A pelvic floor specialist works with patients to improve their condition by training the pelvic area, educating the patient about the function, anatomy and factors that influence and impact their symptoms, and providing therapy and holistic treatment to improve their quality of life.

Our bodies have the ability to heal if symptoms are addressed correctly using evidence-based research and treatment protocols. This includes patients that have suffered with their conditions for an extended period of time. Patients post hysterectomy, prostatectomy, ante and postpartum; female athletes engaging in high impact sports, and bladder transplant and pelvic organ prolapse patients experiencing incontinence or constipation can be treated effectively by pelvic floor physical therapy irrespective of the timeline of their condition.

What can cause these symptoms? Surgical removal of an organ from the pelvic area can affect the internal pressure and integrity of the muscles that provide support. Female athletes engaging in high intensity sports are likely to experience incontinence with jumping, running, and cutting type movements due to muscle weakness and incoordination of the pelvic region.

Childbirth can also impact the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic region causing women to experience problems associated with sexual intercourse secondary to internal scar tissue and incontinence due to muscle weakness.

A pelvic floor specialist can address all of the above symptoms by performing scar massage, neuromuscular re-education and strengthening of the pelvic floor. The therapy also aids in regulating bowel and bladder habits and teaching strategies to the patient to resume functional tasks without experiencing leakage or pain.

If you suffer from these conditions, know there is help. A pelvic floor specialist can help create a tailored therapy program to improve your quality of life and get back to the activities you enjoy.

Dr. Kothari is a doctor of physical therapy at Avid Physical Therapy in Cathedral City and can be reached at zkothari@avidphysicaltherapy.com or (760) 202.0368.

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