Mary Ellen Kramp, DPT, CLT-LANA
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Co-Founder and President of Pelvic Health Research Initiative
Owner of Relief at Hand, LLC
1. Painful Intercourse
Sex should never be painful: not during foreplay, not during penetration, not with deep penetration, not during, and not afterwards. Pelvic pain can be treated. Pain can start for numerous reasons: vaginal birth, episiotomy, trauma, infections, hormone issues, falls onto the sacrum, and reasons unknown. Women are often told to do kegels in these cases, which for many of them cause more pain. Most women with pelvic pain tend to hold the pelvic floor too tight and need to learn how to relax the muscles. Therapists can work with women to release trigger points within the muscles and other issues creating pain as well as retraining the muscles to create a relaxed pelvic floor and eventually pain-free, pleasurable sex.
2. Stress Incontinence
Peeing when you cough, sneeze, run, jump, etc
Most women are told that peeing when you cough, sneeze, jump and run is a part of aging or is what happens after you have a baby. Yes, it is a common problem. NO, it is NOT what just happens when you have a baby or age! Stress on the pelvic floor and weakness of the pelvic floor muscles make it more difficult for women to be able to hold urine, but this can be treated by a therapist and pee-free coughing, sneezing, jumping and running can resume!
3. Pains During Pregnancy
Many women suffer from back pain, pelvic pain, round ligament pain and sciatic pain during pregnancy. All of these issues can be addressed with physical therapy. There is no need to stay in pain just because of the pregnancy.
4. Post Partum Issues
Pelvic floor pain, stress incontinence, and abdominal weakness (a separation of the muscles called diastasis recti) are the most common issues following birth. Scar tissue from either a c-section or vaginal birth can create significant pain. Physical therapists can work with women to help return the body to optimal function following pregnancy.
5. Women's Issues through the Lifespan
Physical Therapists can address such issues as painful periods, bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, pelvic organ prolapse, and cancer care. Women may not be aware of the options available to them for treatment. For more information about women's health physical therapy, visit www.womenshealthapta.org .