Services & Procedures
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
The Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation program at Premier Women's Healthcare is committed to providing services targeting the treatment of symptoms such as urinary incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency, pelvic pain, fecal incontinence, constipation, painful intercourse and chronic pelvic pain.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles forming an anatomical sling that supports your pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles surround the urethra, vagina, and rectum. Like all the muscles, the pelvic floor needs to be able to function well to allow normal urination, bowel functions and pain free intercourse. Dysfunction of the pelvic floor can lead to incontinence, pain, and improper organ suspension. This can include spontaneous leakage of urine upon coughing, sneezing or laughing.
The major known causes include obesity, menopause, pregnancy and childbirth. This can produce varying degrees of pelvic relaxation, leading to bladder or bowel dysfunction and vaginal laxity, having a negative impact on sexual intimacy.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can affect women of any age, both young and old. Pelvic floor dysfunction is when the muscles of the pelvic floor do not contract or relax correctly and can cause uncomfortable sensations and affect or even limit our daily activities. The most commonly reported symptoms are:
What should I expect?
Your first visit will take approximately 1 hour.
At your first visit the technician will take a health history, discuss pelvic floor retraining and answer any questions you may have. Following this, the technician will carry out the therapy session.
You will be given an exercise prescription following your training session each week to complete until your next visit. This will be based on the measurements taken during the session and the amount of work your muscles are capable of performing.
A brief exam will be necessary to ensure that you are able to properly contract the target muscles. Following this examination muscle testing of the pelvic floor muscle will be performed. Most patients find this procedure is not uncomfortable.
This is completed using two steps:
- A small sensor is placed in the rectal opening and you will be asked to tighten the rectal muscle as if you were holding back gas. The reason for these instructions is that all of the pelvic floor muscles attach onto the rectum. Therefore it is easier to contract the larger muscle of the rectum and it automatically tightens the rest of the muscles, which control bladder leaking or urinary frequency and urgency.
- A small sensor like a tampon is placed in the vagina and the same instructions are given as above.
The muscle testing is important because no two people are exactly alike. The level of exercise that we recommend will be based on the muscle testing. If too many exercises are performed it may actually fatigue the muscle and make it ineffective. If not enough exercises are performed the muscle will not improve.
Additional treatments, which may be incorporated, are:
- Stimulation to the muscle. This is done using the vaginal sensor in women, which is inserted like a tampon. You will feel a gentle tapping sensation and feel the muscle contract but this is not uncomfortable for most people. This is the same type of therapy used for other muscles in the body to help them get stronger more quickly. It also helps those people who have difficulty with urgency and frequency by helping decrease inappropriate bladder contractions.
- Dietary habits will be reviewed. We find that some patients have bladders that are very sensitive to certain types of drink or foods. Dietary changes may be recommended to help decrease your symptoms.