Westlake Pelvic floor therapy is a type of treatment that uses physical therapy as a basis for providing a structured, safe and effective reconditioning of one’s pelvic floor muscles. The goal of the treatment is to improve the pelvic floor muscle’s strength and function, and alleviate pain, weakness and dysfunction. A skilled physical therapist accesses the muscles via the rectum or vagina and manipulates them to improve their strength and function. The therapist either stretches the muscles if they are short or contracted or apply resistance to strengthen them if they are weak and dysfunctional.
Pelvic Floor: What is It?
The pelvic floor is made up of ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and connective tissues that provide the base and support for the pelvic area. Men and women both have a pelvic floor, but there are some slight differences.
The pelvic floor holds the bladder in the front, uterus at the top, and then the vagina and rectum in the back.
The pelvic floor supports the bowel, bladder, urethra and rectum.
The openings from these organs pass through the pelvic floor. For both men and women, the pelvic floor muscles are attached to the pubic bone at the front and the tail bone at the back.
Why is The Pelvic Floor Necessary?
The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in bladder and bowel control for both men and women. This is because it is the responsibility of these group of muscles to ‘hold’ the said organs. The pelvic floor is also important for both men and women’s sexual health. For men, weakened pelvic floor muscles can be partly responsible for erectile dysfunction; for women, a tight pelvic floor muscle can cause pain during sexual intercourse. Men and women can both experience urinary dysfunction, especially adult and teenage athletes that participate in high-impact sports.
When do You Need Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
Although some of these conditions may necessitate surgery to repair structural defects, Westlake pelvic floor therapy can provide a good solution for others.
The best candidates for pelvic floor therapy are those who are interested in conservative treatment options. These are non-surgical candidates for a variety of reasons, or they may not want or require immediate surgery at all.
If you are suffering from pelvic floor symptoms and these are keeping you from enjoying life, you might want to give physical therapy a try.
What to Expect from Pelvic Floor Therapy
At the initial appointment or the beginning of therapy, like most patients, you will feel nervous or anxious. But not to worry, your therapist will guide you through what the therapy entails and is ready to answer all your questions and concerns. The appointment is usually done in a private room; therapy will not begin unless you are ready and comfortable.
Most of us are familiar with physical therapy, and pelvic floor treatment is still considered physical therapy—just for a specific part of the body. Patients are encouraged to ask questions and therapists are required to answer them.
Like many outpatient therapies, pelvic floor physical therapy includes a variety of exercises, manual techniques and movement coordination. But including electronic therapies can also help! One therapy is biofeedback, wherein small, painless electrodes are applied to the affected area; this could be the genital, rectal, or perianal area. For most patients, biofeedback is a great and effective way to improve their bladder function.
Your therapist may need to perform an internal exam when necessary. While this can be uncomfortable, it’s an important part of the treatment. Imagine going to a therapist to have your shoulder injury checked. It would be strange if they ask you questions but don’t actually try to check your shoulder. Do you even consider that treatment at that point? To understand how your pelvic floor is working, your therapists must be able to see it and assess it so they can give you the appropriate and safe physical therapy diagnosis.
Usually for Westlake pelvic floor therapy, one visit per week for eight weeks is quite common. But the length of treatment can vary on several factors such as the diagnosis, how severe the dysfunction, and the patient’s goals. The goal of any therapy is to help patients return to their ideal level of function so they can continue enjoying an active and more independent lifestyle.
Kegel and Other Exercises
Patients undergoing pelvic floor therapy treatment are usually prescribed a personalized home exercise program based on the physical activities they enjoy, such as biking, low impact walking, or swimming. Another common exercise is the Kegel, introduced by gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s. While a lot of people are familiar with what Kegel exercises are, they are often performed incorrectly.
People usually squeeze too hard when they do a Kegel. There are a lot of don’ts when it comes to Kegel exercises, such as not holding your breath or not urinating when doing a Kegel. Kegel contractions should be done gently while breathing out slowly.
Result of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
After undergoing Westlake pelvic floor therapy, you will be able to enjoy results such as:
- Getting through the day without incontinence
- Returning to one or two favorite spots
- Being able to start a family
Before any of these things become possible, you must absolutely let go of the idea that your problem isn’t important or that it doesn’t matter. Many of us, especially women usually minimize our symptoms as normal. Women usually think it’s normal to leak urine, or pain during intercourse is normal. But with the right treatments, these problems can be corrected.
Patients should be able to notice improvements after several visits to the therapist. If you don’t notice any changes, your therapist can make adjustments during the re-assessment appointment. Remember, recovery is a process that occurs at a different speed for each person, so do not get disheartened when your recovery takes slower than others. Speak with your therapist regarding your gains and setbacks and after reaching your goals, check in with them again every year.