Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses a host of health issues including female pelvic pain. This page will define female pelvic pain, how it is diagnosed, treated and how pelvic floor physical therapy can benefit this condition.
What is female pelvic pain?
Female pelvic pain may be located in the clitoris, labia, vagina, perineum, anus, urethra, bladder, around the pubic bone, or around the sits bones. It can be triggered by a number of activities including sitting, urinating, defecating, or sexual activity. Pain may be dull and diffuse or sharp and localized depending on the root of the problem. There are a number of other symptoms that can accompany pelvic pain including difficulty urinating, urinary frequency, urinary urgency, painful urination, painful sex, and constipation.
Common conditions associated with pelvic pain
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Urinary tract Infection
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Chronic constipation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In order to diagnose the root of a patient’s pelvic pain, urologists will take a medical history, symptoms history, and family health history as well as run a series diagnostic tests. A urinary analysis will determine if there is an active urinary tract or bladder infection. Patients may also undergo cystoscopy or CT scan to further at the recommendation of the urologist.
- Suppository muscle relaxants and pain relievers
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
- Surgical options
How can pelvic floor physical therapy help with pelvic pain?
Pelvic floor muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds them can become tense and restricted as a result of pain and that tension can lead to more pain. Infections, prolonged sitting, injury, or stress may be the reason that the pain started in the first place, but pain may linger even after the infection or injury has healed. When the body senses pain, muscles brace to protect the area. This triggers a cycle of muscle tension and dysfunction that causes the pain to become chronic.
Pelvic floor physical therapy employs manual techniques, exercise programs, diet and activity modifications, and education to break the cycle of muscle tension and tissue restriction leading to pain leading to more tension. A technique called connective tissue manipulation releases connective tissue restrictions in areas surrounding the pelvis including abdominals, inner thighs, groin, buttock, and low back. Manual release of pelvic floor muscles and relaxation exercises can also help to alleviate muscle tension and associated pain. Exercises and stretches are prescribed by physical therapists to address muscle dysfunction and tightness. Lifestyle modifications such as adjusting daily activities, held positions, and diet help to address underlying causes and triggers of pelvic pain.
If you suffer with female pelvic pain, contact Urology Austin to schedule a consult with one of our providers.