New Pelvic Health Center in Utica, NY!
ATW’s Pelvic Health Center provides a multidisciplinary, compassionate and patient-centered approach for simple and complex pelvic floor conditions.
Our program combines specialists from a variety of services, including pelvic floor physical therapy, dietary considerations for pelvic and women’s health, pain management, relaxation skills and more. Comprehensive evaluation by our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists are performed and individualized programs are developed based on each client’s needs.
What is the pelvic floor?
The National Institute of Health describes the “pelvic floor” as a group of muscles that form a sling or hammock across the floor of the pelvis. Together with surrounding tissues, these muscles hold the pelvic organs in place so they can function correctly. The pelvic organs include the bladder, urethra, intestines, and rectum. A woman’s pelvic organs also include the uterus, cervix, and vagina.1
Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles are muscles in the pelvis that provide support to pelvic structures, assist in urinary and bowel function, and sexual appreciation. The coordination of contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles helps control bowel and bladder functions. For urination, bowel movements and sexual intercourse in women to occur the pelvic floor muscles need to relax. When we have too much tension (high tone) or not enough tension (low tone) pelvic floor dysfunction occurs. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms and affects both males and females.
Symptoms associated with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:
- Pain with urination
- Urinary urgency/frequency
- Difficulty emptying
- leakage of urine or stool
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pain during and after sexual intercourse
- Low back and hip pain
A Physical Therapist (PT) with specialized training in pelvic floor muscle dysfunction will perform a detailed evaluation in a private setting during your first visit. This will include understanding your general medical history, history related to your current condition, stress level, preferred activities and lifestyle, and your desired goals. You’ll be asked questions about your eating, drinking, and bathroom habits.
The strength and motion of your hips, spine and abdominals along with posture and breathing pattern will be assessed to determine what may be contributing to your symptoms. The muscles of your pelvis (including the pelvic floor) will be evaluated to determine if any weakness or tightness exists that may play a role in your incontinence. An examination of your pelvic floor muscles may consist of an external and/or internal assessment to determine your strength, coordination and tension of these muscles. An internal assessment can also provide the therapist with information regarding any muscular tender spots or trigger points that may need treatment. Please know that you can agree or decline any portion of the recommended evaluation.
Based on the physical therapist findings a comprehensive program will be developed to fit your individual needs. Treatment procedures without limitation include strengthening, flexibility training, coordination training, education, muscle re-education, manual therapy, postural education, bladder retraining, body mechanics training, acupressure, yin yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques, biofeedback, therapeutic modalities, and home exercise program.
Your PT will discuss a treatment plan with you that will include the frequency and duration of your PT sessions and planned interventions. Recommended treatments may include techniques to reduce urinary urgency and frequency, retraining pelvic floor muscles to work correctly, education in bladder irritants and dietary/fluid modification, exercises that assist with pelvic floor function (may include breathing, hip, back or abdominal muscle exercises), posture instruction, and behavioral / stress management strategies.
Our pelvic floor physical therapists will provide a thorough assessment of your individual conditions and will design a treatment plan that addresses dysfunction to improved your function and quality of life. They will evaluate and treat your condition and/or recommend other providers as needed in order to provide the most complete and appropriate plan of care for your individual needs.
Conditions we treat include:
- Pelvic pain conditions such as
- Pregnancy and post-partum care
- Core or pelvic issues
- Urinary frequency, urgency, and
- Orthopedic pelvic pain
- Gut and bowel health
- Sexual dysfunction
- Male pelvic health
- Infertility conditions
Individualized Treatment Procedures may include:
- Flexibility training
- Coordination Training
- Muscle re-education
- Manual therapy
- Postural education
- Bladder retraining
- Body mechanics training
- Yin Yoga
- Therapeutic modalities
- Relaxation and Breathing Techniques
- Home Exercise Program
Pelvic Health & Fertility
One in eight couples in the United States experience infertility, struggling to get and stay pregnant. The WHO defines infertility as a failure to conceive naturally through unprotected sex within a year and 6 months in women 35 years or greater. Infertility is also defined by the inability to carry a pregnancy to term, such as in the case of recurrent pregnancy loss.
Causes of infertility include ovulatory and cervical mucus problems, fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, medicine-induced infertility, poor quality semen, and ejaculatory issues to name a few. However, infertility can extend beyond physiological reasons as well including mechanical infertility which occurs if there is a physical obstruction preventing sperm and egg from meeting. Mechanical infertility includes scar tissue in the abdomen or reproductive organs or inflammation and lymphatic blockage within the pelvis affecting blood flow to and away from the reproductive organs. Mechanical infertility also can be the inability to tolerate penetration or disinterest in attempting sexual intercourse due to pain.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Manual Physical Therapy has demonstrated the ability to reverse female infertility attributed to occluded fallopian tubes, hormonal dysregulation, endometriosis, PCOS, unexplained infertility and can increase successful vitro cycles.
ATW’s Physical Therapist can treat specific sites of restriction and immobility by manipulating the visceral organs from the outside to restore physiological motion of organs with decreased motility. Additionally, treatment can include the use of integrated manual therapy techniques focused on minimizing adhesions and decreasing mechanical blockages in order to improve mobility of soft tissue structures. By improving the position of the organs and breaking up scar tissue, blood flow is increased allowing for a healthier reproductive system and can assist with effective hormone production and regulation. ATW’s Physical Therapist can also utilize special techniques including use of acupressure and yin yoga to address emotional roadblocks by helping to reduce stress and restore mind-body connections.
Not sure if we can help? Give us a call and talk to our pelvic health expert to learn more about our fertility program. We look forward to hearing from you soon.