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What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

If you're one of the millions of women or men suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction, you know firsthand how these often-hidden conditions can profoundly impact your daily life, relationships, and self-confidence. Pelvic floor physiotherapy offers a beacon of hope, providing a specialized, non-invasive treatment approach that has helped countless individuals regain control over their pelvic health and reclaim their quality of life.

Pelvic floor therapy is a specialized form of physiotherapy that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues of the pelvic region. Its primary purpose is to help individuals regain strength, flexibility, and control of their pelvic floor muscles. Addressing pelvic floor issues is crucial for maintaining overall health and quality of life, as these problems can lead to pain, discomfort, and a range of other symptoms that can significantly impact daily activities.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that form a hammock-like structure at the base of the pelvis. These pelvic muscles play a vital role in supporting the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus (in females), and rectum. They also help control urination, defecation, and sexual function. When the pelvic floor muscles become weak, tight, or damaged, a variety of issues can arise, such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain disorders.

What is the Success Rate of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Pelvic floor physical therapy has demonstrated impressive success rates in treating a variety of pelvic floor disorders in women. A prospective study found that 88% of patients reported being either completely (41.3%) or somewhat (46.7%) satisfied with the results of a comprehensive pelvic floor rehabilitation program that included biofeedback, vaginal electrical stimulation, and behavioral modifications. Furthermore, a secondary analysis of two randomized controlled trials revealed that pelvic floor muscle training was successful in 55% of women after 12 months of treatment for pelvic organ prolapse.

In addition to these findings, research indicates that 71% of women experience improvement in painful intercourse after undergoing pelvic floor physical therapy. While recovery times vary from person to person, patients should typically start noticing improvements within several visits. Moreover, a review article highlights that women with stress urinary incontinence who participated in pelvic floor physical therapy groups were eight times more likely to report cures (56% vs. 6%) compared to control groups.

Overall, success rates for pelvic floor physical therapy range from approximately 55-88% for various conditions such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain. These treatments often incorporate techniques like biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and muscle training.

Conditions Treated by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Urinary Incontinence: Pelvic floor therapy can help individuals who experience involuntary leakage of urine during activities such as coughing, sneezing, or exercising (stress incontinence) or those who have a sudden, strong urge to urinate (urge incontinence).

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: When the pelvic floor muscles become weakened, the pelvic organs can descend into the vagina or rectum, causing a bulge or pressure sensation. Pelvic floor therapy can help strengthen these muscles and alleviate symptoms.

Pelvic Pain Disorders: Conditions such as interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and vulvodynia can cause chronic pelvic pain. Pelvic floor therapy can help manage pain by addressing muscle tension and promoting relaxation.

Sexual Dysfunction: Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction can contribute to painful intercourse (dyspareunia) and difficulty achieving orgasm. Therapy can help improve muscle coordination and reduce pain during sexual activity.

Postpartum Recovery: Pregnancy and childbirth can strain the pelvic floor muscles, leading to weakness and potential damage. Pelvic floor therapy can help women recover strength and function after delivery.

What to Expect During Pelvic Floor Therapy Sessions

Your first visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist will involve a comprehensive assessment to gather information about your health history and current symptoms. The physiotherapist will ask detailed questions about your bladder, bowel, gynecological, and sexual health to better understand your concerns and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

The assessment also includes a physical examination, which typically consists of both external and internal components. The external examination may involve evaluating your posture, breathing patterns, lower back, hips, SI joints, abdomen, functional movements, gait, and external pelvic floor muscles. This part of the assessment helps the physiotherapist identify any contributing factors to your pelvic floor dysfunction.

The internal examination involves assessing your pelvic floor muscles vaginally and/or rectally. This is considered the gold standard for evaluating pelvic floor function, as it allows the physiotherapist to assess the tone, strength, endurance, coordination, and tenderness of these muscles. However, it is important to note that you have the right to decline the internal examination if you are not comfortable with it. Your physiotherapist will respect your choice and work with you to create an effective treatment plan based on your comfort level and consent.

If you choose not to participate in an internal examination, your physiotherapist can still develop a comprehensive treatment approach using a whole-body perspective tailored to your specific goals. This may include techniques such as external manual therapy, exercise prescription, postural and breathing education, and lifestyle modifications.

Based on the findings from your assessment, your physiotherapist will create an individualized treatment plan designed to address your specific needs and help you achieve your goals. Depending on your unique situation, this plan may incorporate a variety of techniques, such as pelvic floor rehabilitation exercises, manual therapy, biofeedback, and electrical stimulation.

When is the Best Time to Book an Appointment?

It is advisable to seek pelvic floor therapy as soon as symptoms appear or when recommended by a healthcare provider. Early intervention can help prevent the progression of pelvic floor dysfunction and improve treatment outcomes. However, it is never too late to start pelvic floor therapy, as many individuals experience significant improvements even after dealing with chronic conditions for years.

Common indications that it may be time to book an appointment include:

  • Persistent pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels
  • Painful intercourse or sexual dysfunction
  • Pelvic heaviness or pressure, especially after prolonged standing or physical activity
  • Postpartum healing and recovery

If you're struggling with pelvic floor issues, such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction, you don't have to suffer in silence. Inertia Physio+ offers exceptional pelvic floor physiotherapy services in Kanata and Stittsville, with private treatment rooms and one-on-one care. Our experienced physiotherapists specialize in evidence-based manual and exercise therapy techniques tailored to your specific needs and goals.

We understand that pelvic floor problems can be sensitive and deeply personal, which is why we prioritize your comfort, privacy, and consent throughout your treatment journey. Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique concerns and helps you regain control over your pelvic health.

Don't let pelvic floor dysfunction keep you from enjoying a pain-free life and the activities you love. Take the first step towards recovery today by scheduling an appointment with us at (613) 672-2200 or


Is pelvic floor therapy worth it?

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is often a worthwhile investment for individuals experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction or related conditions. This specialized, non-invasive treatment approach offers targeted relief for a wide range of disorders, including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, chronic pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction. By addressing the root causes of these issues, pelvic floor physiotherapy can provide long-term improvements in symptoms and quality of life.

There are many benefits of pelvic health physiotherapy, such as better bladder and bowel control, reduced pain, and enhanced sexual function. Moreover, this targeted approach can help prevent the need for more expensive or invasive treatments in the future, making it a cost-effective option in the long run.

Pelvic floor disorders can profoundly impact an individual's physical, emotional, and social well-being. By empowering patients to regain control over their pelvic health, physiotherapy can greatly improve their overall quality of life. While the decision to pursue pelvic floor physiotherapy depends on individual circumstances and goals, many people find that the benefits of this targeted treatment make it a valuable investment in their health and well-being.

Is pelvic floor therapy covered by OHIP?

No, OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) does not cover pelvic floor therapy as it is considered an elective, specialized treatment. However, pelvic floor physiotherapy may be covered by private extended health insurance plans, so it's best to check with your insurance provider about coverage details.

Is pelvic floor therapy painful?

Pelvic floor therapy is generally not painful, but some individuals may experience temporary discomfort or mild pain during certain aspects of the treatment.

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