Pelvic floor dysfunction is commonly found in MEN and WOMEN struggling with interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Often the result of injury or accident, “high-tone” tight muscles can cause cramping, burning and difficult urination, defecation and sexual intimacy. Weak pelvic floor muscles are associated with bladder and bowel incontinence, organ prolapse, premature ejaculation, poor orgasm and so forth.
If you’re not sure what the pelvic floor does and why it’s important, check out this award winning video by Gussie Grips, a physical therapist in Scotland. In a funny comedy routine, she shares what the pelvic floor does and how it’s important to incontinence and sexual health. Yet, as she says, with just five trips to a physiotherapist, many pelvic floor issues can be resolved completely!
Pelvic Floor Educational Materials
- The Pelvic Floor Muscles – You have a lot of muscles “down there!”
- PFD Symptoms – Weak vs. tight muscles
- How is PFD Diagnosed? – Pelvic floor assessment should not be feared!
- How is PFD Treated? – Hands on physical therapy, self-care, medications, acupuncture, yoga
- Suggested Books, DVD’s & CD’s
Looking for a Physical Therapist
Finding a PT who has been trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation can be challenging. This is a new area of specialty and comparatively few practitioners have been trained in these new methods. A physical therapist who suggests kegel exercises as a treatment for pelvic pain is clearly NOT trained properly. Kegel exercises are not recommended. The ICN maintains a database of providers based on patient recommendations. You’ll also find databases through the International Pelvic Pain Society and Herman Wallace!
- ICN Find A Provider Database
- International Pelvic Pain Society
- Herman Wallace Practitioner Directory – Herman Wallace is the leading trainer of physical therapists on pelvic floor disorders.
There are several good books and CD’s that will help patients understand more about the pelvic floor dysfunction, the anatomy of the pelvis and stretches and exercises that you can do at home that may help.
Pelvic Pain Explained
Released in January 2016, authors Stephanie Prendergast and Elizabeth Rummer share the story of how patients develop pelvic pain, the challenges patients and providers face throughout the diagnosis and treatment process, the difficult task of sifting through the different available treatment options, and the impact that an “invisible” condition has on a patient’s life and relationships, and much more. Those who develop pelvic pain find the path to proper diagnosis and treatment frustrating and unsuccessful, oftentimes because they are trying to work within the model of recovery they are used to; one in which they go to the doctor, maybe take some tests and then get a very specific diagnosis that dictates a very specific mode of treatment. This simply is not the path to healing from pelvic pain. Pelvic pain is a health issue that crosses the borders between medical disciplines and requires the patient to be a proactive participant in the healing process. Learn more!
Heal Pelvic Pain
Written by Amy Stein MPT, Heal Pelvic Pain: The Proven Stretching, Strengthening and Nutrition Program for Relieving Pain, Incontinence, I.B.S. and other Symptoms without Surgery offers readers relief and recovery for pelvic floor disorders through a program of strengthening, stretching and relaxation exercises, massage techniques, nutritional basics, and self-care therapies without drugs or surgery.
The book provides information for men and women struggling with pelvic pain and shares two different exercise programs. One addresses the pain syndromes related to urinary, bowel, or sexual dysfunction including incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary and/or bowel frequency, urgency or retention, pudendal neuralgia, prostatitis, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and more. The other program addresses pelvic floor muscle weakness and poor coordination resulting in incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and/or decreased sexual response. The book is easy to read and use, and offers photos of all of the exercises and massage techniques guide readers every step of the way. Learn more!
Ending Female Pelvic Pain: A Woman’s Manual
Ending Female Pain: A Woman’s Manual by Isa Herrera, MSPT is a ground breaking book for women with pelvic and sexual pain, containing dozens of easy, helpful exercises and tips that offers hope for patients with pelvic floor problems, vulvodynia, IC, etc. etc. This book gives you vital, easy and effective stretches, exercises and tips to help you take control and manage your pelvic pain symptoms. Learn more!
Ending Male Pelvic Pain: A Man’s Manual
Ending Male Pelvic Pain: A Man’s Manual by Isa Herrera, MSPT shares her successful pelvic pain and pelvic pain treatment approach. She says “I’ve had many successes in treating men with pelvic issues and I must say that the men who are the most successful either possess or develop a positive, fighting attitude and learn how to take control of their pain and pelvic floor issues on their own.”
The book is exceptional and a must read for men struggling with IC, prostatitis or recovering from prostatectomy. In Part One, Isa provides one of the best discussions of pelvic floor anatomy that I’ve read. The pelvic floor is unusually complex with muscles in various locations and depths. She shows men how to examine their muscles to determine which could be contributing to their pain. Part Two offers an extensive set of exercises and stretches (with demonstrative pictures), including how to do kegels, using pilates balls, yoga, stretching in the workplace, using a foam roller and building a strong core.
What makes this book truly effective is its approach to working with the unique struggles that men face. She encourages men to be open-minded and willing to work hard. She reminds men that practice is required to master the techniques and provides a very doable schedule of activities. A patients approach to the treatment is also important. Patience and a fearless attitude is essential! As she says, she wants her male patients to be “fearless warriors.” Learn more!
DVD’s & CD’s on Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Healing The Pain “Down There”
New in Fall 2015 – This 4 DVD series was produced by a team of multi-disciplinary professionals (ob-gyn, pt, etc.) and an incredibly motivated patient who wanted to make a difference. Their point is simple. When you have pain “down there”, it’s very difficult to determine where the pain is coming from. This guide will not only help patients learn this, but also offers clear insight and self-help strategies for pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. Each kit also comes with a welcome guide that includes a vaginal health guide, vaginal canal map, tips for managing constipations and tips for approaching and mantaining sexual health. Learn more!
Using a guided relaxation CD is VITAL for patients struggling with pelvic floor tension. Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, MI) has created three CD’s that receive rave reviews from patients and, in atleast one research study, have been proven to help reduce the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
- Guided Imagery For Relaxation for Women With Pelvic Pain or Interstitial Cystitis
- Guided Imagery to Enhance Healing – For Women With IC, Pelvic Pain or Vulvodynia
- Guided Imagery To Enhance Healing – For Men With Chronic Pelvic Pain or Prostatitis