What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

The pelvic floor is a vital yet often overlooked part of the body. This network of muscles and tissues acts as a sling supporting pelvic organs, controlling important functions like urination, bowel movements, and sexual activity.

But when these muscles are too weak, too tight, or injured, problems can arise. Incontinence, painful intercourse, constipation, and pelvic pain plague many adults at some point.

Luckily, there is a specialized therapy that can help – Pelvic Floor Therapy, Katy. Keep reading to understand what pelvic floor PT entails and how it assists people struggling with embarrassing or debilitating pelvic issues.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

Before examining pelvic floor physical therapy itself, let’s overview the pelvic floor. This term refers to various muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues spanning the bottom of the pelvic region.

Key responsibilities of the pelvic floor include:

  • Supporting the pelvic organs like the bladder, uterus in women, and rectum so they stay in their proper place. Pelvic organs can bulge downward when muscles weaken, which is known as pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Contracting and relaxing appropriately to control urination and bowel movements. Pelvic floor muscles coordinate with sphincter muscles to avoid leakage.
  • Allowing sexual function and pleasure through muscle contractions and relaxation. Pelvic pain or tightness interferes with comfortable intercourse.
  • Providing passage for menstrual flow and vaginal lubrication. Spasms create painful penetration.
  • Maintaining good posture and spine stability through coordinated contractions with the abdominal and back muscles.

When the pelvic floor muscles and tissues tighten excessively or become too weak, dysfunctions in these important functions can occur. Katy Physical Therapy offers conservative treatment for related symptoms without drugs or surgery.

Common Pelvic Floor Disorders

Pelvic floor physical therapy is useful for various disorders stemming from pelvic floor dysfunction. These include:

Urinary incontinence

Leaking urine when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising due to childbirth injuries, menopause, or prostatectomy side effects. Strengthening weak muscles helps control leaks.

Fecal incontinence

Inability to voluntarily control bowel movements due to muscle weakness or nerve damage. Many techniques help retrain muscles for bathroom urges.

Pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic organs like the bladder “drop” from normal position causing a heavy, bulging sensation and problems with urination, defecation, and sexual function. Physical therapy can reduce symptoms and prevent worsening.

Painful sexual intercourse

Discomfort during penetration results from vaginal dryness, involuntary spasms, restrictive scar tissue, or conditions like endometriosis. Relaxation techniques and gentle stretches allow pain-free intercourse.


Unexplained burning, stinging pain around the vulva and vaginal entrance with no identifiable cause. Pelvic floor therapy eases muscle tightness and pain triggers.


Pain in the tailbone region often stems from trauma sustained during childbirth. Specialized stretches alleviate symptoms.

Interstitial cystitis

Chronic bladder pressure, pain, and increased urinary frequency with unclear origin. Bladder training is an effective approach.

Consultation with a pelvic floor physical therapist at FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center in Katy, TX, determines how these symptoms relate to dysfunction in the muscles, nerves, or connective tissues of the pelvic floor region. A customized treatment plan can then be outlined.

What Does a Pelvic Floor PT Session Involve?

Pelvic floor physical therapy sessions are conducted privately by therapists with specialized training in delicate examination and treatment procedures for the sensitive pelvic area. Appointments typically consist of:

  • Consultation – The patient’s condition, symptoms, and major concerns are discussed to guide the plan of care. The use of questionnaires helps track progress over time.
  • Assessment – Internal and external touch evaluates areas of tightness, weakness, restricted range of motion, or tenderness. Specialized muscle tests measure the pelvic floor’s ability to contract and relax.
  • Therapeutic exercises – Exercises like Kegels improve control of weak pelvic floor muscles. Stretches increase flexibility in the hips, thighs, and lower back if tightness is contributing to symptoms. Deep breathing relaxes the pelvic region.
  • Manual techniques – The physical therapist uses gentle, guided pressure to mobilize tight tissues and trigger points and improve the overall movement of muscles and joints.
  • Modalities – Methods like biofeedback, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and hot/cold packs help properly relax and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
  • Patient education – Individualized instruction on self-care strategies, diet and fluid modifications, optimal toilet posture, and anatomical explanations of symptoms empowers patients.
  • Home program – Patients are assigned customized home exercise regimens to perform between visits.

Multiple therapy sessions over weeks or months are usually needed for full rehabilitation, along with the daily home practice of relaxation, stretching, and strengthening techniques. Most women experience noticeable improvement after just a few physical therapy visits.


Pelvic floor physical therapy can benefit both women and men dealing with a variety of pelvic conditions involving urinary or fecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction, constipation, pain syndromes, and more. A physician referral is needed.

A pelvic floor PT then further evaluates if conservative therapy is suitable for the individual’s specific symptoms and functional limitations. The best candidates are motivated to perform home exercises and make lifestyle modifications that optimize results.

If you have any questions, you can always reach out to FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center in Katy, TX.

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