Understanding Pelvic Health: A Comprehensive Guide
The pelvic region is an important part of the body that supports organs and controls bladder and bowel movements. Pelvic health issues can affect people of all ages and genders, and they can significantly impact quality of life.
However, many people are not aware of the importance of pelvic health in our quality of life, as well as the ways in which physiotherapy can significantly help with pelvic dysfunction. If you “leak" when you laugh, cough or do daily activities, you may have pelvic-related conditions.
Here is full guide to what you need to know about pelvic health, for people of all ages. We'll discuss the anatomy and function of the pelvic region, common pelvic health issues in men, women, children, and pregnant women, and how physiotherapy can help with these issues.
Anatomy and Function of the Pelvic Region
The pelvic region is located at the base of the spine and includes the pelvis (hip) bones, sacrum, and coccyx. It contains many important structures, including the bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that attach to the pelvis (hip) bone and help support the organs in the pelvic region.
The pelvic region has several important functions, including:
• Supporting the surrounding organs: The pelvic floor muscles help support the bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs.
• Controlling bladder and bowel movements: The pelvic floor muscles help control bladder and bowel movements by relaxing and contracting.
• Sexual function: The pelvic floor muscles also play a role in sexual function by helping to control ejaculation and orgasm.
Pelvic Health Conditions in Men and Women
Both men and women can experience pelvic health issues. In men, common pelvic health issues include prostate problems, such as prostatitis and enlarged prostate. These issues can cause urinary symptoms, such as frequent urination and difficulty urinating. Physiotherapy can help with these issues by providing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control.
In women, common pelvic health issues include urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, and it affects millions of women worldwide. Research estimates suggest that up to 50% of women worldwide experience some degree of urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the uterus or bladder, slip out of place and push against the vaginal wall. Pelvic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including childbirth, surgery, or injury.
Common Causes of Pelvic Health Issues
Pelvic pain in men and women can have many different causes, and it is important to identify the underlying cause in order to determine the most appropriate treatment. Common causes of pelvic issues include:
Gynaecological conditions: Pelvic pain can be caused by various gynaecological conditions (conditions that are specific to the female reproductive system) such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and menstrual cramps. These conditions can cause inflammation, pressure, or stretching of the pelvic organs and tissues.
Pregnancy-related conditions: Pelvic pain is common during pregnancy and can be caused by conditions such as round ligament pain, pubic symphysis dysfunction, and uterine contractions.
Bladder and bowel problems: Conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause pelvic pain due to inflammation or irritation in the bladder or bowel.
Prostate problems in men: The prostate gland is in the pelvic region and is responsible for producing semen. Conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer can cause related urinary symptoms which can affect urgency, frequency and difficulty with urination.
Musculoskeletal problems: Pelvic pain can also be caused by musculoskeletal problems such as pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, myofascial pain syndrome, and nerve entrapment syndromes. These conditions can cause pain in the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the pelvic region.
Other medical conditions: Pelvic pain can also be caused by other medical conditions such as appendicitis, kidney stones, and hernias.
Physiotherapy can help with these issues by providing exercises to better support the reproductive organs and improve bladder control. Manual therapy, such as trigger point release and myofascial release, can also be used to relieve pelvic pain. In addition, physiotherapists can provide education on proper body mechanics and lifestyle modifications to help manage pelvic health issues.
Pelvic Health and Aging
Pelvic health can also change with age. Older adults may experience common pelvic health issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain. Physiotherapy can help with these issues by providing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Manual therapy can also be used to relieve pelvic pain and improve mobility.
Pelvic Health and Pregnancy
Pregnancy can have a significant impact on pelvic health, and many pregnant women experience common pelvic health issues such as urinary incontinence and pelvic pain.
Women's Health Physiotherapy can help with these issues by providing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Our experienced Women's Health Physiotherapists can also provide treatments and education on proper body mechanics and exercises to prepare for childbirth and for recovery after childbirth.
Pelvic Health Issues in Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescents can also experience pelvic health issues, such as bed-wetting and constipation. Bed-wetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is the involuntary loss of urine during sleep. Constipation is a common issue that can cause discomfort and difficulty with bowel movements.
Physiotherapy for Pelvic Health Conditions
Physiotherapy treatments can benefit people with pelvic-related conditions. Our physiotherapists carry out a thorough assessment of your pelvic floor function and evaluate the condition and strength of the surrounding muscles. Our pelvic floor physiotherapists also use specialised equipment such as real time ultrasound imaging to observe the patterns of contraction and release of the pelvic floor and bladder muscles.
Treatments for pelvic health conditions involve a combination of manual therapy, exercises, and education on proper body mechanics. Manual therapy can include trigger point release, myofascial release, and joint mobilization to relieve pelvic pain and improve mobility. We also prescribe targeted exercises for strength and endurance training of the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can include Kegel exercises, which involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, as well as other exercises to improve bladder and bowel control. We also provide education on proper body mechanics and lifestyle modifications to help manage pelvic health issues effectively for the long term.
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy at Prohealth Sports And Spinal
At Sports And Spinal, our physiotherapists have specialised training in pelvic dysfunction, and the knowledge and skills to assess and manage pelvic problems. If you are experiencing pelvic issues, we offer customised treatments for related conditions such as stress incontinence, urinary incontinence, as well as other women’s health conditions and musculoskeletal injuries.
Regardless of how serious your condition may be, our treatment plans are always personalised for each individual's situation and designed to achieve their maximum recovery potential.
Contact Us Today
Our team at Prohealth Sports & Spinal is with you all the way to provide the help and treatments you need.
If you are experiencing pelvic health issues, please consult with us. We can help you improve your pelvic health and quality of life. Remember, it's never too late to start take control of your pelvic health.
Our physiotherapists provide comprehensive assessments based on the current level of pain, the location of the injury and your previous medical history. With this information, we will work with you to create a therapy plan that is individually tailored for your needs and situation. Our professional approach improves the chance of the injury healing correctly in a shorter time frame.