5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Treated By A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
More and more individuals are becoming aware of pelvic floor physical therapy, and no one is more excited about this than those of us who have been passionate about it for years! We are so thankful that pelvic floor physical therapy is starting to get the traction that it deserves because this means that people are getting help for problems they thought they had to live with forever. Most are aware that pelvic floor physical therapy can treat things like peeing your pants or think of it as something that women who have had babies would do. But there are some conditions that we treat that I’ve found some individuals to be surprised by. So let’s talk about five things that my friends have been surprised to learn that we, pelvic floor physical therapists, can help with!
- Rectal pain (or as some patients have said “butt pain”)
You may be surprised to hear that pelvic floor physical therapists can help with issues in the “back end”. That’s right! Pain in the rectum or anus (where the poop comes out) is something that we treat. Pain in this area can be insidious (comes out of nowhere) or it can happen after some difficult and painful poops or it can happen after childbirth or it can happen after boughts with anal fissures or hemorrhoids. Many people are unsure of where to turn when they have issues on the “back end”, but a pelvic floor physical therapist is equipped to help.
Yep! Another “back end” problem that we can help with. Now, we understand that constipation, not being able to poop regularly or having hard, rocky poop or having painful poops, is multifactorial. Multifactorial meaning, there are a lot of factors that can influence the ability for someone to have regular, comfortable poops. However, we are equipped to help in certain ways. We can help our patients build good bathroom habits, address some basics of diet and hydration, assess the pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles, do some manual therapy techniques to encourage good contractions in the large intestine, and teach the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles how they are supposed to lengthen and contract to ensure that poop can come out easily.
- Bowel Leakage
This is kind of like urinary leakage, where pee leaks out when you don’t want it to, but it is poop leaking out when you don’t want it to. Poop leakage can look a few different ways. Sometimes it’s a lot of poop leaking out or barely getting to the toilet in time for a #2. And sometimes it can be some streaking in the underwear. And other times, it can be noticing that you need to wipe the “back end” when you don’t poop or maybe after going pee or after exercise or exertion. This issue can be extremely embarrassing for people to talk about, but I assure you, we’ve heard it all and you will not even see us flinch as you give us the details of what you’ve been experiencing. Kind of like with constipation, bowel leakage is multifactorial too. Some basics of diet, hydration, any other underlying bowel conditions needs to be discussed, but there are muscles that are there to help hold the poop in until you are ready, and those can be made stronger and learn new tricks!
- Tailbone pain
How many times have you heard of someone breaking or fracturing their tailbone and they were told to sit on a doughnut cushion for a while because “there really isn’t anything you can do about it”. Well, that’s just not true! Of course, if there is a fracture, or broken bone, time for that fracture to heal is important. But after that initial healing, the tailbone pain should not continue! If it does, we have a problem that a pelvic floor physical therapist can help with. And sometimes pain in the tailbone doesn’t seem to have a cause or it happens after a fall but there was no fracture or it happens after having a baby or it happens after sitting in a new chair for work. Whatever the reason, it can be helped.
- Flatulence Incontinence
Flatulence is a cute, medical word for tooting, pooting, farting, passing gas, or whatever silly word your family likes to call it. Flatulence incontinence is when gas escapes or leaks out of the “back end” or the anus where poop comes out, and you did not know it was about to happen or you had NO control over it coming out. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all get a little surprised by a toot every now and then, and it is totally normal to pass gas throughout the day. In fact, the average person (no matter whether male or female), passes gas about 13 times per day, this is normal! However, you should be able to tell that it’s coming, and if you aren’t ready for it to come out, you could hold it for at least a little bit. But please, don’t hold back your gas for too long, it’s just not healthy and hello bloating and pain! Sometimes individuals are having issues where they bend down to pick up something from the floor and are surprised by gas leaking out or laugh/cough/sneeze and also pass gas uncontrollably. These kinds of things aren’t normal and again with some muscle assessment and retraining, this can improve!
So there you have it, 5 things you probably had no idea that pelvic floor physical therapists can treat, and maybe you didn’t even know that people had these problems or you’re thinking, gosh, I’m so glad to know I’m not alone! We are finally starting to get some traction talking about women peeing their pants and how it isn’t okay to live with this, let’s normalize talking about the “back end” too! A pelvic floor physical therapist is here to help you live your life without these fears, pain, or embarrassment.