The pelvis has the important job of carrying your entire upper body’s weight while also supporting, protecting and stabilizing major organs in the lower half of your body. Every person has a pelvis, yet its shape and functions differ based on your assigned gender at birth.
Why is pelvic health important?
If you think of your body as a house, the pelvis is its foundation. It provides a sturdy base to support the organs and muscles in your lower abdomen area, like the bladder, internal reproductive organs (including the prostate, ovaries and uterus) and rectum.
Because of its central location, the pelvic area absorbs a lot of wear and tear. From giving birth to simply aging, a weakened pelvic area can make natural bodily functions feel like a greater chore for your abdominal core.
In fact, 1 in 3 American women and individuals assigned females at birth (AFABs) will live with a mild to severe pelvic condition at some point in their life, which can have a major impact on your physical, mental and reproductive health.
Our team will be here for you every step of the way, from your first symptoms and screenings to treatments and ongoing care.
We have the expertise and resources to detect and treat the full range of pelvic conditions, including:
Weakened pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor muscles have the important job of supporting the urinary and reproductive tracts. These muscles act as “the pelvic floor” for a group of organs known as your core — small and large intestine, stomach, liver, pancreas and gallbladder. Pelvic floor muscles also keep your organs in place while supporting bodily functions like going to the bathroom and having sex.
You may benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy if you’ve noticed weakened or sore muscles following one or a combination of conditions, like:
- Bowel or bladder incontinence
- Pelvic floor pain or weakness
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pregnancy and postpartum
Pelvic organ prolapse
A pelvic organ prolapse occurs when weakened pelvic muscles cause 1 or more organs — bladder, rectum, uterus or vagina — to bulge or drop out of place. This can look different based on your assigned birth gender:
- Women and individuals assigned females at birth (AFAB) experience a prolapse when organs bulge into or out of the vagina.
- Men and individuals assigned males at birth (AMABs) experience a prolapse when the rectum bulges into the anus.
A strong pelvic floor is important for preventing prolapses, yet it’s natural for muscles and ligaments to weaken over time. This is often caused by:
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic cough
- Connective tissue diseases
- Heavy lifting or straining
Stress urinary incontinence
Coughing, laughing, sneezing and exercise can all put stress on your lower abdomen. When that stress causes bladder leakage, it’s known as stress urinary incontinence.
This condition affects 10–20% of women and AFABs. People living with stress urinary incontinence may avoid social or sexual situations out of fear that it will trigger a leak, which can have a major impact on mental health. We'll work with you to strengthen your pelvis so you can enjoy the life you deserve.
While we tailor your treatment path to your individual needs, everyone’s pelvic care begins with an evaluation. We offer the full range of tests for pelvic floor disorders, including:
- Anorectal manometry: This measures how strong the muscles and nerves in your anus and rectum are.
- Colonoscopy: While this test is used primarily to detect colorectal cancer, it can also help us find abnormalities in and around your pelvic organs.
- Defecography: This test involves taking X-rays or other images of the rectum and anus while you sit on a special toilet or attempt to have a bowel movement.
- Endoanal and endorectal ultrasounds: Like other types of ultrasounds, these exams use sound waves to create images of the anus and rectum.
- MRI: Magnets and computers join forces to create 3D images of the inside of your pelvic area.
Should you be living with a weakened pelvic floor, a physical therapist may also screen your back, hips, posture and flexibility to gain a better understanding of your mobility and muscle strength. And finally, a pelvic floor evaluation will determine which muscles are weak, tight or painful.
Once we know more about your condition, we’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment path.
Depending on your condition and health history, we may recommend a combination of surgery, outpatient treatments (in and out the same day) or physical therapy.
Comfort and convenience are at the heart of everything we do. These pelvic area treatments can help get you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible, with no overnight stays in the hospital required:
- Bladder Botox® injections
- Pelvic floor ultrasounds
- Peripheral nerve evaluation
- Pessary fitting and changing
- Posterior tibial nerve stimulation
- Trigger point injections in the pelvic floor muscles
- Urodynamic testing
Pelvic floor physical therapy
We help all people strengthen and improve their pelvic floor muscles and function with physical therapy. Therapies range from manual therapy to electrotherapy and even biofeedback to learn how well your pelvic floor muscles contract.
We’ll work with you to reduce your symptoms using a range of treatments like:
- Bladder control training
- Bowel training
- Electrical stimulation
- Ergonomics and body mechanics training (learning how to sit, stand and complete daily tasks more comfortably)
- Pelvic floor and core exercises to strengthen, stretch, and relax the pelvic floor, abdomen, spine and hip
- Massage and myofascial release
- Relaxation techniques
Pelvic floor exercises, more commonly known as Kegel exercises, are simple squeeze-and-release actions that help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. You may not be able to see the difference Kegels make over time, but you can feel them.
These exercises are very helpful for people with stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Consistency is key here, and we recommend doing these exercises regularly to manage your condition. If you need help performing these exercises, we can pair you with a physical therapist who will work with you to target and strengthen your Kegel muscles.