We are here to help!
While it is not the most comfortable topic to discuss, Pelvic Floor Disorders, or PFD, are more common than you may think. According to the National Institutes of Health, one in four women are affected by Pelvic Floor Disorders. PFD occurs when the muscles and connective tissue within the pelvic cavity weaken or are injured. Men can also be affected.
Let’s face it, PFD can cause a whole host of unfavorable symptoms, including the more known leaking of urine (or feces) to difficulty urinating or having bowel movements. The condition can also make you feel as if you need to urinate more often and may also cause you to start and stop in the middle of urination. Another symptom may also be difficulty and discomfort during sexual activity.
If you experience any of these symptoms, there is help! The first step is to talk with your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP can help you develop a plan. Part of a treatment plan may involve physical therapy and we do have physical therapists for that!
Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center physical therapist, Heather Harriman works with patients to address pelvic floor issues. She shares, “Because pelvic floor issues are so personal, it is important that the patient and I are on the same page. This is a huge quality of life issue for people. It takes a lot of trust, and I work hard to determine what their goals are and have conversations with them about what it will entail on their end as well as what they should expect from me.”
When a patient first meets with Heather, she will do a full physical therapy evaluation, asking a lot of questions about the issues to ensure the best treatment approach. In addition, like any physical therapy plan, there are often stretching or strengthening exercises. There are also behavior modifications that can be made as well as relaxation techniques that help promote pelvic floor wellness.
Heather says it can be beneficial for pregnant women to see a pelvic floor physical therapist during their pregnancy. “We can address stretches that help with labor and delivery, exercises to do pre- and post-delivery, positioning for labor and delivery and decreasing the risk of tearing with vaginal deliveries,” she comments.
Have more questions about PFD? Schedule an appointment
with a Northern Light primary care provider today!