doctor holding female pelvis

Pelvic floor dysfunction – a term encompassing urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and other conditions – impacts millions of women. In fact, studies suggest that roughly 32% of adult women experience a pelvic floor disorder (PFD) diagnosis . Yet, due to stigma and a lack of awareness, many women suffer in silence. At The Therapy Network, we’re committed to breaking the silence and empowering women through pelvic floor physical therapy

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Pelvic Health 

Pelvic floor physical therapy offers a non-invasive and effective approach to managing pelvic floor dysfunction. Here’s how it benefits women: 

  • Improved Strength and Control: Physical therapists design personalized exercises to strengthen and retrain the pelvic floor muscles, leading to better bladder control and reduced pain. 
  • Pain Management: Techniques like manual therapy and biofeedback can significantly decrease chronic pelvic pain and discomfort. 
  • Enhanced Postpartum Recovery: Physical therapy can address issues like diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and pelvic floor weakness that arise after childbirth. 
  • Improved Sexual Function: Pelvic floor dysfunction can negatively impact sexual health. Physical therapy can improve sexual satisfaction by addressing pain and muscle tension. 

Common Misconceptions Debunked

myths vs facts image for women's pelvic health

Here are some common myths surrounding pelvic pain and how physical therapy debunks them: 

  • Myth: Pelvic pain is just a normal part of being a woman. 
    • Reality: Pelvic pain is not normal and can be effectively treated. 
  • Myth: Only women who have given birth experience pelvic floor dysfunction. 
    • Reality: Women of all ages can experience pelvic floor issues. 
  • Myth: There’s nothing I can do about pelvic pain. 
    • Reality: Physical therapy offers a safe and effective path toward managing and reducing pelvic pain. 

“The pelvic floor PT program provided by The Therapy Network completely resolved my problem. My therapist, Brooke, was excellent and very considerate of my other physical limitations. She tailored the therapy for me. I am now pain free! Thank you!”

Carol, TTN Oceana

Prevention and Treatment with TTN Physical Therapy: What to Expect 

Now that we understand the power of physical therapy for pelvic health, let’s delve into what you can expect during a typical treatment session. This is just a preview of what you’ll experience, and we’re excited to continue the conversation through education and treatment at The Therapy Network! 

Assessment of Pelvic Floor Muscles with your Physical Therapist using the PERF-ECT Method 

woman consulting with womens pelvice health provider

Your physical therapist will use the PERF-ECT Method to assess the function of your pelvic floor muscles. PERF-ECT stands for: 

  • Power: This test evaluates the strength of your pelvic floor contractions. 
  • Endurance: This test assesses how long you can sustain a pelvic floor contraction. 
  • Repetitions: This test measures how many consecutive pelvic floor contractions you can perform. 
  • Fast Twitch: This test evaluates the ability of your pelvic floor muscles to respond to quick bursts of activity. 
  • ECT: Every Contraction Timed! 

Education! Learning what is normal vs. not normal is important. 

Your physical therapist will educate you about what constitutes normal pelvic floor function. They will address any misconceptions you may have and explain how physical therapy can help you regain control over your pelvic health in a clear and compassionate approach. For example, you will learn that incontinence (leaking urine) is not a normal part of life and physical therapy can help strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent leakage. 

“I began my journey with Brooke at TTN after years of issues with incontinence. Within a few weeks, my problems have been all but eliminated. Brooke, Dee, and the rest of the therapists are friendly, knowledgeable, and have made my life better!” 

-Jennifer, TTN Oceana 

Establish Mind – Muscle Connection

A crucial aspect of pelvic floor rehabilitation is building a strong mind-muscle connection. Your therapist will guide you through exercises designed to enhance your awareness of your pelvic floor muscles. This allows you to isolate and activate these muscles more effectively. 

Common Exercise for Mind-Muscle Connection: Kegels 

poster of womens health keep calm and get your kegel on

Kegel exercises are a cornerstone of pelvic floor strengthening. Your physical therapist will instruct you on the proper Kegel technique, ensuring you target the correct muscles and perform the contractions effectively. 

Core Strength Training

A strong core is essential for good pelvic floor health. Your therapist will incorporate core strengthening exercises into your treatment plan. These exercises help manage intra-abdominal pressure, which can put undue stress on the pelvic floor. 

Common Core Exercises: 

women doing core exercises for pelvic health
  • Supine Alternating Marching: This exercise strengthens your core and improves hip stability. 
  • Dead Bugs: This exercise challenges your core stability and coordination. 
  • Bird Dogs: This exercise strengthens your core and improves spinal stabilization. 
  • Weight Squats: Squats effectively strengthen your core, glutes, and legs. 
  • Dead Lifts: Deadlifts are a great exercise for building overall core strength and improving posture. 

“For many years, I’ve had trouble with bladder control. The exercises and suggestions by Brooke have really helped with my condition. I could not be happier with the therapy team! Brooke and Dee are great! William also does a great job!” 

-Nancy, TTN Oceana 

The Therapy Network: Your Partner in Pelvic Health 

At The Therapy Network, we understand that discussing pelvic floor issues can be new and uncomfortable. Our mission is to create a supportive and understanding environment where you can openly discuss your concerns and find relief. Leading that mission is our highly trained physical therapist and TTN Oceana Clinic Director, Brooke Devlin, PT, DPT, CMTPT, who specializes in women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction. She is ready to listen to you and design a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Brooke Panfil Devlin, PT, DPT, CMTPT

“Pelvic health is important to me because it is the foundation of our body and can greatly impact a person’s functioning. Women have normalized problems associated with the pelvic floor (incontinence, pain, prolapse, difficulty voiding, and more) when in fact they are NOT normal and can be treated. It makes me happy to educate, help, and solve women’s problems related to their pelvic floor to enhance their lives as moms, wives, superheroes, and bosses.”

Don’t suffer in silence. Pelvic floor physical therapy can improve your quality of life. Contact The Therapy Network today for a direct access appointment and take control of your pelvic health! 

“Brooke with The Therapy Network has been so helpful with my journey. She recognizes the sensitivity of these sessions and is always respectful. With her skillful help, I am now more confident to go out with friends and take short trips. I am sure these skills will continue to improve!”

Anonymous, TTN Oceana

For more stories like this, check out our blog

  [i] Kenne, K.A., Wendt, L. & Brooks Jackson, J. Prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in adult women being seen in a primary care setting and associated risk factors. Sci Rep12, 9878 (2022).