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Heather Jeffcoat on Livestrong.com
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Signs You Should See a Pelvic Floor Therapist
Image Credit: filadendron/E+/GettyImages
Livestrong writer Lacey Muinos was tasked with creating an article about the signs that you should see a pelvic floor therapist, and she came up with six of them. She came to me asking for my expert opinion, and here is a brief synopsis of the article, along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

Should You See a Pelvic Floor Therapist? Six Signs Suggest So

One of the first things Lacey discovered is that within the wider field of physical therapy, pelvic floor therapy is still a somewhat unknown quantity:

When you think of pelvic floor therapy, you may think of Kegel exercises — which are basically a workout for your pelvic floor muscles — but there's a lot more to it than that. When these muscles aren't functioning properly (aka, pelvic floor dysfunction), a variety of symptoms can get in the way of your day-to-day activities. We spoke to pelvic floor physical therapists about the signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction to look out for. If you experience any of these, it might be time to see a pelvic floor specialist.

Having realized the importance of pelvic health and the specialized training that is required to optimize it, Lacey came to me for some insights. 

Pelvic floor therapy is a type of physical therapy that aims to restore the function of your pelvic floor, a group of muscles that help control your bowel, bladder, sexual and postural function, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a Los Angeles-based physical therapist.

If you are a regular reader of our site you may already have some knowledge about your particular condition. That said, the six causes listed by Lacey are certainly worth reviewing.

The six signs you should see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

  1. Leakage When You Laugh, Cough or Sneeze - Bladder leaks are no laughing matter, but we've got lots of great tips to help!
  2. Painful Intercourse - If you suffer from Interstitial Cystitis, here is a great video inteview I did that is worth a watch, and here are many more articles on the various causes of painful sex.
  3. Frequent Trips to the Bathroom - Frequent urination can be a real bother, but we've got solutions!
  4. Aches and Pains During and After PregnancyLumbopelvic Pain is just one example of pain during pregnancy. Find lots more great tips on pregnancy related pain here.
  5. Pelvic Pain, Heaviness or Bulging - If you're experiencing bulging or heaviness that causes pelvic pain, look here for some answers.
  6. Fecal Incontinence or Constipation - We can help whether you can't hold it in or you can't let it out!

Navigate here to read the full article about why you should see a Pelvic Floor Therapist at Livestrong, and go here if you are ready to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists.

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Testimonial by Amanda W.

Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

-- Amanda W., 2/15/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Jackie W.

I was in multiple car accidents a decade ago, and I have been to many physical therapists through the years without success. They found the root of my lower back pain problems and after nearly a decade of barely being able to walk I finally can again without pain. They are also the best pelvic floor pts and the only ones who found the connection between my pelvic floor and lower back problems. If you need help with physical pain, they are your answer.

-- Jackie W., 1/19/17 via Yelp!

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by M.M.

My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

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