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Why Pelvic Health PT Is Good for Postpartum Moms & Female Athletes

Dr Sara Kiyani of RunRaleighPT

50% of postpartum moms exhibit symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction including: leakage with coughing, sneezing & running, pain with sex, feeling like their abdominal muscles aren't working appropriately, etc. Many women live with these symptoms, thinking they are all normal and they just have to “deal with it”.

Good news! These symptoms can be managed with pelvic floor physical therapy so that moms can return to all the activities they love to do rather than just “dealing with it.” Woohoo!

Note: Even though we are talking about moms here on this blog, pelvic floor physical therapy can help any and all women with pelvic pain including female athletes who are experiencing the symptoms listed above, regardless of whether or not they have given birth.

So, what can one expect from a Pelvic Health Assessment with a PT?

A pelvic floor physical therapy assessment involves both an external evaluation of the body as well as an internal assessment. The external examination portion looks at functional movement patterns, strength and flexibility of the trunk, pelvis, hips and legs.

The internal assessment (upon patient consent, of course) portion evaluates the strength, length, and quality of the pelvic floor muscles. This internal exam differs from one you'd get at your OBGYN's office as there is no speculum and no stirrups. The PT uses a single digit to check for tension and strength of pelvic floor muscles.

Your PT will use the information from your internal and external exams, the symptoms you report, and your goals for treatment, to develop a full understanding of any muscular imbalances and develop a treatment plan.

Common conditions treated in pelvic floor physical therapy:

• Abdominal pain

• Bladder and bowel issues

• Constipation

• Cystocele

• Diastasis recti

• Dyspareunia (pain with sex)

• Endometriosis

• Gastrointestinal (GI) issues

• Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)

• Low back & tailbone pain

• Overactive bladder syndrome

• Pelvic floor dysfunction

• Pelvic organ prolapse

• Postpartum

• Prenatal / Pregnancy

• Pudendal neuralgia

• Sexual dysfunction

• Surgery (abdominal/pelvic)

• Urinary frequency

• Urinary incontinence

• Vaginismus

• Vulvodynia

• Weak core muscles

So what now?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or think you may have one of the aforementioned conditions, go ahead and make yourself an appointment for a pelvic healthy assessment!

About the Author:

Dr. Sara Kiyani is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in pelvic health, women's health, running analysis and general orthopedics. She helps women address their pain, weakness, and dysfunction in their pelvic floor muscles so that they can engage in all activities they love to do without pain, urinary leakage, & pelvic discomfort. Make an appointment with with Sara HERE or explore another curated list of local providers HERE.