Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist? When Should You See One.
A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist is someone who has gone to advanced training beyond your typical physical therapist to understand the musculature and function of the tissues that are found in the pelvis (the area around your genitals). Using a variety of techniques that can include manual therapy techniques, exercise training, and education; pelvic floor physical therapy can be an integral part of your treatment plan for some erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, pelvic pain, as well as incontinence and incomplete voiding.
What will a first visit look like?
Can I just do kegels at home?
During an initial evaluation, a pelvic floor physical therapist will begin by having a thorough conversation about how your issue started and how it affects your life. Based on that conversation the physical therapist will perform a physical examination of potential problem areas. Pelvic floor issues can be multifaceted, so potentially the therapist can also be looking at issues with the spine, spinal nerves, hips, or other areas that can refer pain. Next, the physical therapist will look at the structures at your pelvic, this could include feeling the penis, scrotum, and testes, testing sensation, and testing pelvic floor muscle strength and endurance. There could also be an internal exam, where a single gloved finger is placed into the rectum to assess the muscles that help you choose when to use the bathroom. There could also be a manometry test, where a small balloon is placed into the rectal canal and a computer will test how well you are able to detect when you need the bathroom, and can visually display how well your muscles are working. There could also be a surface electromyography (sEMG), which can measure how well the muscles that help you maintain an erection and ejaculate function. With this information you and your therapist will build a treatment plan to work on the issues.
Strengthening muscles could be one part of a treatment plan, however, if the issue is spasmed or tight tissues, you could be making the issue worse.