Thrive by IU Health

August 17, 2022

What to expect at pelvic floor physical therapy — and other vital questions

What to expect at pelvic floor physical therapy — and other vital questions

Maybe you don’t even know what pelvic physical therapy is. Maybe your physician has suggested it, but you’re too shy to learn more. Here is more information to help.

Unfortunately, many patients who could benefit from pelvic physical therapy are too embarrassed to discuss their issues with their doctor. But pelvic floor dysfunction is very common among men and women. Typical patients range from women experiencing bladder and sexual issues after childbirth or pregnancy, to men with pelvic pain and bladder leakage.

Lauren Habig, IU Health Physical Therapist in Rehabilitation Services, offers answers to some of the most important questions. Habig has been a physical therapist with IU Health for over 10 years.

“I went into PT because I wanted an active job and to help promote healthy lifestyles and help people continue to live their daily lives without pain,” said Habig. She also has an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and played high school sports, and was part of a downhill ski team in college.

What is pelvic floor therapy?

It’s a specialization of physical therapy that focuses on improving bladder, bowel and sexual function. Pelvic floor physical therapy examines the pelvic floor - an area made up of muscles that support the bowel, bladder and reproductive tracts. These muscles can be weak or tight similar to any other muscles of the body.

What does a physical therapist do for pelvic pain?

Treatments are similar to physical therapy for any area of pain or dysfunction, but we specialize in the assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles. Treatments include manual therapy, biofeedback, functional activities, and bowel and bladder training.

What should I expect on the first visit to pelvic floor physical therapy?

Your first visit will consist of a conversation focusing on functional impairments, bowel, bladder and sexual health. A therapist may also want to know about your diet and exercise habits. If you're comfortable, your physical therapist may perform an internal exam of the pelvic floor muscles.

How many physical therapy sessions are generally needed?

We typically schedule each patient weekly, but each plan is individualized. We will develop a plan consisting of home exercise, pain management and bladder and bowel training.

What types of conditions would require pelvic physical therapy?

Some conditions include: Leaking urine, frequent urination, pain during sexual activity, pelvic pain, bowel incontinence or constipation, post prostate, pelvic or abdominal surgery.

Are most of the patients women?

We see many women who experience pelvic floor dysfunction issues, but we see all genders ranging from teenagers to older adults.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

Featured Services