The pelvic floor is a group of muscles creating a sling which serves three primary purposes including support of the internal organs, control of urination and defecation, and sexual function. Dysfunction of these muscles can lead to dysfunctions in any of these three functions, and also contribute to problems elsewhere in the body.
Examples of how pelvic floor dysfunction can manifest include:
Leaking from Bladder or Bowel: The most common types of leakage seen in clinic are urine leakage during exertion (such as coughing, sneezing, exercise, or sexual activity) and urine leakage associated with a sudden strong urge to go. These are known as stress and urge urinary incontinence.
Pain with intercourse: Pain that occurs at the vaginal opening is usually associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. As many as 60% of women will experience pain with intercourse at some point in their lives.[i] Of these women, few actually seek treatment, believing that the topic is taboo, that they will not be believed, that nothing can be done for them, or that the pain is normal. In fact, we frequently find women in clinic who went their whole sexual history having pain with intercourse, and believing that it was normal sensation.
Vulvodynia: chronic pain of the area around the vagina, known as the vulva. It may be generalized or specific to only one area. Symtpoms my include feelings of burning, stinging, icing, aching, throbbing or swelling. It may or may not be accompanied by spasm (vaginismus). Treatment depends on the source of the pain, which is typically multi-factorial.
Vaginismus Spasm and tightness of the pelvic floor muscles that limits penetration is known as vaginismus. It may make penetration extremely painful or even impossible, including sexual activity, tampon use, and gynecologic exams.
Dr. Leslie Wakefield PT also treats TMJ, headache, lower back pain, neck pain, postural dysfunctions, alignment, women's health concerns, pelvic floor, scar tissue, chronic pain, orthopedics; she utilizes both exercise and manual treatments including myofascial release, visceral manipulation, trigger point release, joint mobilization, muscle energy techniques, and others.