Healthbeat 4: Treating pelvic pain with physical therapy

Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 9:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - One in three postpartum women will experience loss of bladder control, according to a Kaiser Permanente study. However, you can take steps to reduce your chances of having it happen to you.

Kate Sheehy at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s specializes in pelvic floor therapy, helping people strengthen their pelvic muscles.

“Physical therapy focuses on the function of the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding areas. So some examples of conditions or impairments are these muscles aren’t functioning optimally, urinary incontinence...pelvic pain, abdominal pain, hip pain, and low back pain. And that’s just to name a few,” said Sheehy, a physical therapist.

Women aren’t the only ones with pelvic floors, meaning men can experience the same issues.

“Men have pelvic floors, too. They have a pelvis, they have muscles in the same area. And they have they serve similar functions, supporting our internal organs, sexual function, all of those things,” said Sheehy.

Sheehy said a common exercise is Kegels, but strengthening your pelvic floor involves your core, back, and even feet. While Kegels can be helpful, they also can make a condition worse. That’s why it is important to visit a physical therapist for a full evaluation.

Sheehy said if you experience any of those symptoms -- loss of bladder control, constipation, pelvic pain -- visit your primary care provider to talk about starting pelvic floor therapy. You can also contact Kate Sheehy at kathryn.sheehy@unitypoint.org.

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