What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?


By Erika N. Johnson and Carolyn Seale, Physical Therapy at UNC REX Outpatient Rehabilitation, Erika.Johnson2@unchealth.unc.edu, 919-784-4696

Who (would benefit):  YOU!

Who (is the provider):  Physical and Occupational Therapists

What:  Pelvic floor therapists are specialists in assessing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction, which includes a wide range of impairments that often involve either weakness or tightness of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor therapists have the same initial training as “regular” PTs or OTs, with additional specialized training in the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic region, as well as in bowel and bladder function. Your initial evaluation would take place in a private setting and may involve a pelvic exam to assess your pelvic floor muscles. Each rehab program is individualized to meet your needs and may include patient education, exercise training, biofeedback, manual therapy, postural retraining, and more.  The number of therapy visits needed varies from person to person and can range anywhere from two times per week to every other week.

When: You may be a candidate for pelvic floor rehabilitation if you are experiencing bladder or bowel symptoms such as accidental leakage, incomplete emptying, increased urgency, increased frequency, or pain with elimination. Pelvic floor rehabilitation may also help women with pelvic organ prolapse, and women who experience pain with vaginal intercourse, vaginal exams, or the insertion/removal of tampons. Pelvic floor rehabilitation can also help women before and after they give birth, with any of the before mentioned symptoms, and with diastasis recti (DRA).

Where: These services are available in outpatient rehabilitation settings but may also be offered in inpatient and skilled nursing facilities. UNC and UNC REX both offer Pelvic Floor Rehab at multiple outpatient locations in Wake and Orange counties.

How: Your insurance may require a referral to Pelvic PT or OT. If not, you can refer yourself but we recommend that you have had a pelvic exam within the past year and/or have discussed your concerns with your medical provider.

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