Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Services

Advanced Treatment for Women with Pelvic Floor Conditions

Loyola Medicine’s pelvic floor physical therapy program provides a comprehensive approach to the treatment of chronic pelvic pain. Our team has vast experience in diagnosing and treating pain that may have been misdiagnosed elsewhere; often our patients have suffered for years without an accurate diagnosis. Loyola’s team of experienced, compassionate therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan to eliminate or reduce the source of your pain and discomfort.

Many conditions can be partially or completely treated using pelvic floor physical therapy, including:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Obstetrical dysfunction
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • Pelvic floor tension, pain and dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary retention

Why Choose Loyola for Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?

Loyola provides truly integrated clinical care for pelvic floor conditions, bringing together an all-female team of medical and surgical experts from our chronic pelvic pain program and specialized pelvic floor physical therapists, forming one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. This team was founded by an all-female group of doctors, surgeons and advanced practice nurses, some of whom have been providing women’s healthcare for more than 30 years. 

In addition, Loyola’s nurses have earned Magnet status, which means they have been recognized for delivering the highest level of care.

What to Expect with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Loyola’s experienced physical therapists are trained in pelvic health and may use hands-on techniques to release trigger points and re-educate muscles affected by pelvic and nerve pain. Our physical therapists are skilled in evaluating and treating dysfunction in the joints, muscles, nerves and scar tissue of the pelvic floor.  

During your first visit, your physical therapist will take a detailed medical and family history. She will ask about any physical limitations and bowel, bladder and sexual difficulties you have been having. Your therapist will then take a look at your posture, the mobility of your spine and hips, along with and the strength and flexibility of your pelvic girdle muscles. She will check for any scar tissue and trigger point issues in your pelvic muscles.

Your therapist also will examine your pelvic floor, which consists of a group of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue in the lowest part of the pelvis. These muscles are responsible for providing support to the pelvic joints and organs, allowing relaxation for the passage of urine, stool and gas and contracting to prevent the loss of urine, stool and gas.

You will be asked to undress from the waist down and cover with a sheet. Your therapist will use a lubricated, gloved finger to identify painful muscles in and around your vagina and rectum and ask you to contract and release these muscles to assess how they are functioning. Great care is taken to make you as comfortable as possible during the exam.

Your therapist will discuss the evaluation results with you and provide education about your specific condition. She will answer all of your questions and work with you to develop a treatment plan based on evaluation results and your goals for therapy.

Both physical therapy and occupational therapy may be used in the evaluation and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. However, these disciplines differ in their approach. Your doctor, in consultation with your therapist, will determine the most effective approach for your specific condition. Rehabilitation may include:

  • Biofeedback (sensor records muscle activity)
  • Bladder/bowel training
  • Electrical muscle stimulation 
  • Improvement/restoration of joint movement
  • Manual therapy
  • Pelvic floor relaxation/strength training
  • Pressure therapy
  • Stretch/strengthening exercises

What are the Risks of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy for pelvic pain is considered a very low-risk treatment. Your physical therapist will answer any questions you have before, during and after therapy.