In the Rehabilitation Services Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, experts in physical therapy specialize in techniques that combine comprehensive treatments with exercise instructions to restore, maintain and encourage optimal function, health and fitness. And now, patients with pelvic floor dysfunction can find relief from their symptoms using the same approach.
The pelvic floor physical therapy program, developed by Rachel Wolk, PT, DPT, and Lucia Sloane, PT, DPT, includes the evaluation and treatment of women with bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and urinary dysfunction. “We see women across the spectrum, from women who have never had children, to women in the post-partum period, to post-menopausal women,” says Wolk.
Wolk says pelvic floor dysfunction can look like a lot of things, including bowel incontinence and pain with intercourse. “But the most common symptom we see is urinary incontinence,” she explains. “A lot of people think that leaking urine is a normal part of being a woman. While it’s a common part, it’s not a normal part. There is something you can do about it and we are here to help.”
Women may feel embarrassed by their symptoms or uncomfortable seeking help to relieve their symptoms, but Wolk says these are not reasons to delay treatment. “We do our best to make sure our patients feel as comfortable as possible,” she says. “Typically, the initial evaluation is similar to a standard vaginal exam. From there, we design a course of treatment tailored to each patient’s symptoms and desired outcome.”
During that first visit, the physical therapist will evaluate muscle tone, muscle strength and muscle endurance. During subsequent visits, patients will learn to coordinate a pelvic floor contraction and elongation through exercises led by the physical therapist. Patients may also work on increasing strength and endurance or trigger point release.
The ultimate goal is to get each patient back to a place where they can enjoy their daily activities worry free.
Update 4/1/22: The pelvic floor physical therapy program at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital now treats individuals of all genders.
Is your pelvic floor dysfunction keeping you from enjoying the things in life you love the most? Call 617-983-7271 to make an appointment with an expert in pelvic floor physical therapy in the Rehabilitation Services Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital today!
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