What is a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist? And Do I Need One?

Hello and Welcome! Thank you for visiting my page and reading my blog post. I am so happy that I am able to start sharing with the world my passion for women’s health and pelvic floor physical therapy.

For my first blog post, I wanted to start with the basics and actually describe what the heck a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT) is and what we can do. (Spoiler Alert: we don’t JUST teach people how to do Kegels all day)

Broadly speaking, a PFPT is a physical therapist who specializes in assessing and treating the musculoskeletal dysfunctions associated with the pelvic floor muscles.

So what exactly are the pelvic floor muscles? Pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) are a group of muscles who sit like a hammock at the bottom of your pelvis (see images below). They control everything that has to do with peeing, pooping, and sex (exciting right?! I think so). PFMs are just like any other muscle and can become too weak or too tight to perform their jobs properly. Some examples of what can happen are urinary and/or fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pain with intercourse.

This is a view of the female pelvic floor muscles from above, or looking down into the bowl of the pelvis.

This is a view of the female pelvic floor muscles from above, or looking down into the bowl of the pelvis.

This is a view of the female pelvic floor muscles from below, or looking up at the bottom of the bowl of the pelvis. Note in both photos the 3 outlets of the PFMs: the urethral opening, the vagina, and the anus.

This is a view of the female pelvic floor muscles from below, or looking up at the bottom of the bowl of the pelvis. Note in both photos the 3 outlets of the PFMs: the urethral opening, the vagina, and the anus.

A lot of women feel embarrassed if they have these symptoms, but pelvic floor dysfunction is way more common than you would think! 25% of women over the age of 20 suffer from a pelvic floor disorder! (1) Read that again. Yes, 1 in 4 women! That’s a lot!

This is where PFPTs come into the picture. We are able to evaluate how your PFMs are functioning in your body and create an individualized plan of care for you. And no, it’s not just all Kegels! In fact, if your PFMs are too tight, Kegels are the last thing you would want to do! As a PFPT, I also treat you as a whole person. You are not just a floating pelvis in space. Your PFMs are intimately connected to your core, glute, and leg muscles as well as your breathing patterns and posture. All of this will be evaluated to make sure nothing is missed.

Now, you may be thinking...so do I need to go see a pelvic floor physical therapist? I created this short quiz to help you determine if you would benefit from an evaluation:

**Rule of thumb, if you are noticing changes, difficulty, or pain with your bladder, bowels, or during sexual activity, there is a good chance the pelvic floor muscles could be involved and your best bet would be to get evaluated by a PFPT. I mean, what do you have to lose?

I hope this was helpful and maybe even a little bit educational. If you still have questions, please feel free to email me at anna@glowptandwellness.com or message me via Facebook or Instagram @glowptandwellness.

What do you want to know about next? Normal urination habits? Pain with intercourse? Constipation? C-section scar? Let me know! I’ll write my next blog post about it.

  1. Wu JM, Vaughan CP, Goode PS, et al. Prevalence and trends of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(1):141-8.