Pelvic Floor Misconceptions with Bridget Bates, DPT

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By: Bridget Bates, DPT

The only people needing to see a Pelvic PT are women after childbirth.

Wrong! Pelvic floor therapy can help men and women experiencing a big variety of symptoms: urinary incontinence, difficulties in urination, bowel incontinence, constipation, abdominal pain, low back/SI pain, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain or coccyx pain, vaginal or rectal pain, penile or testicular pain, as well as men and women prior to or after having pelvic surgery.

Pelvic PTs do not treat men.

False. Men have pelvic floor muscles that can cause issues as well!

If a person is leaking urine, they definitely need kegel exercises.

People need strong, but flexible muscles that tighten when they need to and relax when they need to. If a person has a shortened, irritated pelvic floor, they may have just as much difficulty holding back urine as the person with a weak pelvic floor.

If a person has tried “kegel exercises” and they did not work, Pelvic PT won’t be able to help them.

As a Pelvic PT, I take great offense to that. Rehab for the pelvis is much more involved than simply strengthening a muscle group. It involves restoring function—improving muscular support around the pelvis, improving behavioral/dietary habits, and re-training body movements to allow for optimal organ and structural function.

If your mother/grandmother/great-grandmother also had constipation/urinary incontinence/diarrhea/etc., then it must be genetic and can’t be helped.

Also, not true! Now, I won’t say there aren’t genetic components which may cause a person to be more likely to experience certain conditions than others—but that being said, there is always something that can be done to help

A physical therapist doing vaginal or rectal exams is weird and NOT conventional.

Pelvic floor physical therapists are highly trained in both internal and external evaluation and treatment techniques, and current medical research supports these techniques in the treatment of this patient population. But do not be intimidated, the evaluation and treatment plan are set to your comfort.  If you want to get better, but are not comfortable with the internal evaluation, don’t sweat it! This is all about you, your comfort, and helping you achieve your goals and live your best life.

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