Pelvic Therapy: Available at STAR Locations in Creve Coeur and South County
We specialize in treating pelvic problems, which affect your body from the bottom of your torso to the top of your legs. We particularly focus on the pelvic floor, a sling-like group of muscles (the PC, or pubococcygeus, muscles) that prop up organs for reproduction, urination and defecation.
Injured or weakened muscles and tissues can cause pelvic floor disorders (PFDs), resulting in incontinence, pain and other issues. Our treatment is both effective and respectful. Many people tell us the experience was much better than expected and wish they had come sooner.
Why Choose STAR for Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
We are fully committed to treating all pelvic symptoms and conditions, providing relief for women, men and children.
Our program offers:
- Full range of help: Some programs only see adult women. We care for men, too, as well as children as young as 4. And while some providers only treat urinary symptoms, we address bowel challenges as well. Since the same muscles control both, we believe our expanded capacity helps us achieve better results.
- Experienced, trained therapists: Our therapists have years of experience providing treatment. They took extra training to earn special certifications in pelvic care, though their profession does not require doing so. They completed the full training, which not all pelvic floor therapists achieve. And they coordinate closely with your doctor.
- Respect for privacy and safety: Everyone we see is treated behind a closed door, not just a closed curtain. During sessions with children, a parent or guardian is always present.
- Sensitivity to care: We know pelvic therapy is more intimate than other care. We start with questions about your symptoms and treatment goals. We then discuss pelvic anatomy, function and exams, so you know what to expect and why we take the approach we do. We examine your other muscles and bones before moving to the pelvis. We encourage you to let us know if you have concerns or hesitations at any point.
- Inclusion of loved ones: You can bring a loved one for support if you would like to. If there is an issue with intercourse, we welcome your partner to join you in discussing the challenge with us.
Learn more about the benefits of choosing STAR sports therapy and physical therapy.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Symptoms and Conditions
You can develop pelvic floor problems from:
- Impact of certain sports
- Strain of pregnancy and childbirth
- Surgery on pelvic organs like the prostate or ovaries
- Weight gain and muscle weakening after menopause
We treat all pelvic floor symptoms and conditions:
- Urinary incontinence: Some people experience urinary incontinence, or unintentional urine leaks. This problem can happen during sneezing, lifting and other physical stress on the bladder, as well as from a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate. It can also happen when physical limitations keep you from reaching the bathroom in time. Physical therapy can help:
- Restore bladder control and prevent embarrassment
- Reduce use of incontinence medications and potentially avoid surgical treatment
- Fecal incontinence and other bowel problems: Pelvic problems can cause fecal incontinence, with fecal matter coming out when you do not expect it. Such problems can also cause constipation, straining and painful bowel movements.
- Pelvic pain: While many people with a pelvic problem do not experience pelvic pain, it is a common symptom for others. The pain may also affect the area (lower abdomen) just above your pelvis. It can make intercourse painful, limit range of motion in the hips and spine and interfere with normal urination and defecation.
- Pelvic organ prolapse: In some women, the pelvic floor no longer holds the organs in place, and they drop or press into the vagina. The top of the vagina can also lose the support it needs, and the tube that channels urine from the bladder (urethra) can develop a crimp.
- Sexual discomfort: Pelvic floor problems can cause women to feel pain during intercourse. Vaginismus, or vaginal tightening, is one example.
Biofeedback and Pelvic Floor Evaluation
Biofeedback is a key tool in many people’s care. We attach sensors to the abdomen (belly) and the area (perineum) between the vulva or scrotum and anus. We monitor your pelvic floor and related areas, evaluating your muscle use and coordination during specific situations. We help you make any needed adjustments.
Not all programs offer biofeedback, and many that do use less-effective handheld models. We feel it is important to offer this service using a full-size clinical model because:
- We rarely use hands-on methods to evaluate and treat children because of their age and the sensitive nature of the body parts involved. Without biofeedback, we have no idea how — or even if — they are using the muscles in question.
- When treating constipation, we need to know if you are relaxing your muscles or not. Other assessment tools place a greater burden on you.
Kegel Exercises and Other Pelvic Treatments
Pelvic floor therapy does not usually cause pain, nor add to your pain if you are already in discomfort. We offer a full range of therapies, with a plan that is tailored to your needs and could include:
Education and behavior adjustments
Our therapists thoroughly explain pelvic anatomy and the role the area plays in urination, defecation and sexual function. Depending on your diagnosis, they may suggest changing your diet (including fiber intake) and the amount of water you drink. They may also suggest adjustments to your posture, your physical approach to urination and defecation, and your positioning during intercourse.
Electrical stimulation (e-stim)
Small, safe amounts of electrical stimulation can help overcome certain challenges. If you are too weak to engage your pelvic floor, stimulation can help train the muscles until you grow stronger. It can also relieve pain and muscle spasms, as well as stimulate the spine (neuromodulation) to treat frequent urination and the inability to control urges.
Pelvic floor exercise
Everyone we see receives an individualized exercise plan, starting at the first visit. Exercises can include the well-known Kegels, as well as others.
Your plan is tailored to your needs and is updated as you progress through treatment. After finishing your therapy with us, you receive a lifelong plan to maintain your improvement. This plan includes exercises for home or work that take as little as five minutes per day.
Our exercise therapy can:
- Correct postural problems and muscle imbalances
- Treat joint problems
- Free nerves
- Relieve tightness
- Stabilize your core
- Lengthen and strengthen muscles
- Retrain your pelvic muscles and teach you how to properly engage them
- Help you understand the most effective way to exercise, particularly if you have struggled with Kegels before
Direct, hands-on treatment can provide relief to adults who experience pelvic pain. It can treat any spasms or tenderness you have that we find, even if you have never noticed such problems before. It can also provide targeted treatment of trigger points and soft tissue, including scar tissue and special tissue called fascia.
Learn more about our manual therapy.
To learn more about our services or make an appointment, please call a STAR location:
- Chesterfield — Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Orthopedic Center: 314.514.3636
- Creve Coeur — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital: 314.996.3050
- South County — Center for Advanced Medicine: 314.286.1000