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My Experience With Pelvic Floor Therapy

I think I’ve seen you mention your pelvic floor specialist a few times, and I’d love to hear more. I didn’t even know that such a profession exists until I found the Katie Says site several years ago, but I STILL haven’t actually gone to see one. I imagine that pregnancy + childbirth + desk jobs impact us in more ways than we can imagine, and I think more women would benefits from learning more.

After I had my daughter, I asked my Ob/Gyn something along the lines of whether my uterus was fine because I had some discomfort — he said there was a little prolapse, but nothing to be concerned about (and nothing we could do about it as his only solution would be surgery, which wasn’t warranted). Needless to say, I suspect that I should have been referred to a pelvic floor specialist at the time, and it’s something I feel the need to do before getting pregnant again (especially now that I’m in the 35+ category). Even though you aren’t an expert on the subject, I think an article speaking to your experience and known benefits of seeing a pelvic floor specialist would make an awesome blog post! -a follower

What a great suggestion for a blog post! I had never heard of pelvic floor therapy when I had my first three (who are now 16, 13, and 11). In the last few years, I had heard of some women going to a pelvic floor therapist and I was intrigued.

After having Kierstyn, my chiropractor suggested it and I’m so glad she did! It ended up being such a positive thing and I feel like it helped my recovery be so much smoother and allowed me to get back to 100% much more quickly.

Like you acknowledged, I am not a medical professional or expert; I’m just a regular mom who experienced the benefits of pelvic floor therapy. But I wanted to answer some common questions I’ve gotten about pelvic floor therapy:

Who Should Go to a Pelvic Floor Therapist?

I believe pelvic floor therapy can be something helpful for all women, but I think it’s especially valuable after childbirth or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort on a regular basis. I’ve heard from so many women who just assume that pain, discomfort, or incontinence are to be expected — even years after childbirth.

As I learned from pelvic floor therapy, many of these things can be cleared up or at least somewhat resolved and improved through therapy. It will take time and consistency with exercises, but it can make such a big difference!

Where Do You Find a Pelvic Floor Therapist?

Like I mentioned above, my chiropractor referred me. However, you could just look online or ask friends for suggestions of a pelvic floor therapist. I’ve heard that there is a wide variety of them and some are really fantastic and some aren’t as helpful.

I would recommend calling their office and explaining your issues or concerns and asking for them to share how they would address things and what a treatment plan might look like. This might help you decide whether they are a good fit for you.

What Does a Pelvic Floor Therapist Do?

They are basically going to help you work on your pelvic floor muscles. Yes, this will probably involve learning how to do kegels correctly, but it will likely include a whole lot more!

My therapist did an initial exam that included both internal and external checks (expect that your first visit will be on the same level as a visit to your gynecologist) and asked a lot of questions. She discovered a number of things that were amiss — not only was I breathing and moving incorrectly in a lot of basic ways (she taught me simple things like the correct way to stand up and sit down and walk and hold a baby and how to breathe correctly while doing these things. Who knew that I was causing strain and stress on my body in these simple tasks?!). In addition, she found that I also had a lot of internal muscle tightness.

The first 6 or so sessions, we mostly focused on exercises to help loosen and strengthen the internal muscles. I also did a lot of kegels and breathing exercises. As I got stronger, we slowly moved to work on improving my overall strength and muscle tone when it came to my pelvic floor… and this involved a lot of exercises and breathing correctly while doing them.

How Much Does It Cost?

Because we had met our deductible for the year already (thanks to having a baby!), our insurance actually fully covered the cost of all of my visits. I know that’s not always the case, but I think it’s fairly common that it is covered by insurance or there is just a co-pay.

Is It Only for Postpartum?

While I think pelvic floor therapy is fantastic for postpartum (and I think every woman should consider it after having a baby), it’s not just for after you have a baby. All women — especially as they get older — could benefit from it.

Also, one thing I learned from my pelvic floor therapist was that you don’t have to do the therapy soon after you give birth for it to have benefits. She said we were likely fixing lots of things that never got resolved after my first three births! I’ve heard from women who have gone to a pelvic floor therapist years after having a baby and have still seen great results!

Have you ever done pelvic floor therapy before? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience! Also, if you disagree with anything I shared or have a different perspective or additional information, please let us know in the comments — especially if you are more knowledgeable than me and/or actually a pelvic floor therapist or medical professional!

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45 Comments

  • KRIS says:

    I am a 52-year old woman that had a hysterectomy 10 years ago. I am now experiencing some bladder prolapse and my OB recommended surgery, but my GP wants me to try pelvic floor therapy first as she believes I am too young for surgery (she is afraid it will fail at a younger age and most doctors won’t perform the surgery twice.) I had never heard of it, but my GP did the therapy after the birth of her child and she highly recommends it! I’ll try anything to see if I can avoid surgery!

  • Janet says:

    Thanks, very helpful information. Due to prolapse, I spent the last 50+ days of my 4th full-term pregnancy on bed rest—36 years ago! I had my uterus removed 3 years after that due to prolapse rather than having a repair done. She said my bladder seemed to be well-supported… now I’m dealing w/an overactive bladder & incontinence. I was told I had insufficient muscle mass in my uterus due to my mother’s use of DES-stilbestrol during her pregnancy w/me. I thought the only solution was surgery. I’ll talk to my doctor.

  • Anne says:

    A number of months ago I started to do a simple exercise called “crunch and butt lift” to help with pelvic floor issues I’d dealt with since the birth of my youngest, 14 years ago. In just a few months of consistently doing this exercise, things have dramatically improved. Here’s a link to the exercise (It is exercise #6): http://dailyburn.com/life/db/fit-in-10-butt-toning-chair-exercises/

    • Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Tonya says:

        Thank you for being open and speaking up. I hope more ladies will benefit from this therapy because of YOU!

        I am a nurse and had intimate pain following the birth of my 3rd child. With pelvic floor therapy my pain, issues from my firstborn’s traumatic birth (4th degree tear) and diastasis recti were resolved. I think every mom would benefit from the opportunity for this therapy!

    • Quinn says:

      I love DailyBurn! I have a membership! I need to do this to help me not pee myself when I sneeze!

    • Robin Schreiber says:

      Thank you for the reference exercise!

  • KATHLEEN Flarry says:

    Hi, your topics are so apropos to my life at the moment!! Im74 and one day noticed a little bladder incontinence after working too hard in the yard. My GP referred me to a “urogynecologist” which I had never heard of. Now I’m in Physical therapy with a Wonderful gal. I’m learning so much and am grateful to be nipping this problem in the bud! I’m so glad to know that we women have the chance to heal!!

  • Anna says:

    I’m so excited that you shared this and your experience. I’m recovering from endometriosis excision surgery, and my next step is pelvic floor physical therapy! In the recovery process, my body is learning what it feels like to be “normal” after years of having my organs riddled with endo. We pray our family will be able to grow now following years of unexplained infertility. I’m so thankful that it’s becoming more widely known and encouraged! Yay! Thank you! – a follower for years.

  • Pam says:

    So glad you shared that, more women need to be aware of pelvic floor therapy! After my second daughter I had 4th degree tearing. Thankfully my sister who is a physical therapist recommended that I find a physiotherapist that specializes in Pelvic floor. I couldn’t imagine what my bottom side would be like now if I hadn’t gone!

  • Joan Gordon says:

    I am 57 and had a hysterectomy in 2013. I had three pregnancies within 6 years and the middle one was with twins. A few months ago, I noticed urinary frequency and some stress incontinence. I just started pelvic floor exercises with a physical therapist. Already, my symptoms have improved dramatically. I recommend it for any woman.

  • Jen says:

    Thank you for posting this!! When I had pelvic floor issues after having my 10 1/2lb baby girl 🙈, I felt so alone. It is not something that is widely discussed, unless you are elderly. I so appreciate you sharing your story. 💗

  • Selena says:

    Both physical and occupational therapists are often trained in pelvic floor and bladder control rehabilitation, so that is an easy place to begin to look for a specialist! My favorite story was of a lady in a nursing home who, after treatment, passed her box of depends down the hall, with a business card attached from the OT.

  • Paige M says:

    I’m currently going through pelvic floor therapy, and I’ve found it incredibly helpful and it’s given me hope. I’d experienced painful intercourse for twelve years and had given up on anything changing. (I’ve also gone through three pregnancies.)

    The first six sessions were internal work, releasing the internal tension and relieving the pain. Since then, we’ve worked on a ton of exercises to improve pelvic floor strength—syncing my breath with the exercises, strengthening my core along with my pelvic floor.

    My physical therapists work at an actual physical therapy center, with all kinds of patients and therapy provided.

  • Stephanie says:

    I am a mom to 3, cancer survivor who had pelvic radiation. My ob/gyn was like “Oh well, we’re sorry you’re having pain that’s just how it will be.” Thankfully after I spoke up with my oncologist she referred me for pelvic floor therapy. I’m 4 sessions in and it has helped me. Lots of muscle guarding from my treatment and just generally. I have to work continuously on the tissues since radiation has changed them forever. It’s unacceptable that more women don’t have access to this or know about it. It’s even worse that an ob/gyn thinks it’s acceptable for her patients to just be in pain when 4 sessions in my pain has markedly improved.

  • Elissa says:

    If in-person therapy isn’t an option, there’s an online program called MuTu System that focuses on pelvic floor and core strength. I’ve gone through it twice after having (very large) babies, and found it to be very helpful!

  • Kristen Baker says:

    Hello! I just want you to know how much you have inspired me as a woman and a mother of a 3 and 5 year old. You have such great ideas and tips, and this has given me the inspiration to become creative with how I see and do things. I think this would benefit me, as well. I’ve had these pains since I was in my last trimester of my first child. I carried both kids so low i always gave such intense pressure in my pelvis when I stand for to long or if it’s around that time of the month. I just thought I had to deal with ur forever.

  • I am an OB/GYN and have followed you for years. I recommend pelvic floor PT to many of my patients and agree it works for any age patient. My thoughts are #1 make sure you find a PT who is certified in pelvic floor therapy or who has had special training. (You wouldn’t go to the orthopedic surgeon to do your c section) #2 the same specialists can do biofeedback which can significantly help with incontinence #3 I usually suggest waiting 6 weeks post partum for healing before initiating therapy. If there was no tearing Kegel exercises can start earlier! #4 if you don’t get the answer you want from your OB/GYN look for a CNM or NP ( midwife or nurse practitioner) in the practice. Unfortunately doctors are hard-wired for surgery and drugs these other professionals tend to have a more holistic approach and may be able to help! ❤️ Mom of 3 + Dr.

  • Kate says:

    This was a great post! I am an OT and currently expanding my knowledge in the area of women’s health and pelvic floor therapy. To back up what someone else said, yes both OTs and PTs can provide pelvic floor therapy. And pelvic floor therapy can help so many issues, even prenatal issues and Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (or the separation of your tummy muscles that causes a gap and pooch). It is definitely something worth exploring if you have any concerns!

  • Tara says:

    I watched your stories about pelvic floor therapy thinking, “I wish this was an option after I had my babies 11 and 9 years ago!” At the time I had some ovarian cysts giving me trouble, along with years of pelvic floor symptoms. I was referred by my primary care doctor to an OB/GYN surgeon to discuss endometriosis, cysts and surgery. But it was in the thick of Covid and they weren’t doing those surgeries, so the surgeon sent me to Pelvic Floor Therapy. It’s changed everything! I was skeptical, but I was given tools, and after 4 months of PT, I no longer need surgery and my pain is significantly better!!! I will sing it’s praises!

  • Kelly says:

    As a Mom and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist myself – I love hearing your experience! It has become my mission to help more understand what we can truly do as a profession and that as Women – we have so many more options than just having surgery, pads or drinking wine to cover up things like incontinence, pain with sex, prolapse or all the other “unseen” hidden mama issues!

  • Jana says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Crystal! Like you, I’d never heard of pelvic floor physical therapy with my first couple of babies, and I wish more medical professionals would recommend this to women! So the more of us women that talk about it, the more of us will hear that there are options out there, and that we don’t have to live with pain and dysfunction. Pelvic floor physical therapy has been hugely helpful for me, as well as online pelvic floor/core rehab programs, like The Tummy Team. Obviously it’s ideal to have an in-person PT, but online rehab could be a great option for women who either can’t find a suitable PT or can’t go see one due to Covid concerns or other reasons.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Like Crystal, I wasn’t referred to a pelvic floor therapist until after my fourth child but wish I had been so much sooner! My local in person therapist made a super affordable online program for all of the women who don’t have access to a pelvic floor PT whether due to proximity or cost. It’s wonderful! Check out http://www.healathomemoms.com

  • Mary Ausburn says:

    It is not just for adults. My 6 yr old granddaughter saw a PT in pelvic floor weakness and now has not had accidents. She had surgery for a refluxing kidney when she was 2 and had many kidney issues. So thankful my daughter took her in for an evaluation.

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