September is prostate, gynecologic, and ovarian cancer awareness month.
Therefore; it is very fitting that we are able to announce this month that we are offering extended services to our clients at Be Strong Therapy Services, pelvic floor therapy!
Many people are not familiar with the term pelvic floor physical therapy, and if they are, it seems all too personal. It may be considered too “invasive” by the general public or think that the only thing needed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles are kegels. I want to shed some light on what pelvic floor therapy is really all about and how it can help the cancer patient. Some of you may think this is a very “up close and personal” topic, and IT IS. My goal is to make pelvic floor therapy less of a taboo topic and to increase awareness of how this type of physical therapy can help cancer patients.
Who needs pelvic floor therapy?
Our private practice is focused on oncology rehab, so I have provided a few examples of how pelvic floor therapy can be put to practice in this population.
One example is the 45 year old mom who had ovarian cancer and subsequent surgery, she is now left with scar tissue, adhesions, incontinence (loss of bladder control), and sexual dysfunction. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help to lessen the amount of time someone is incontinent following a surgery or treatment and can help overall health and wellness by improving sexual functioning earlier. We all deserve to have the chance to live our lives to the fullest and to be happy. The depression and anxiety rate among women and men left with incontinence and sexual dysfunction following cancer treatment is high. Many people are too embarrassed to seek help from a therapist, or they do not realize this type of physical therapy exists.
Pelvic floor therapy can be for the man with prostate cancer, who has undergone prostate removal surgery, or radiation. Complications from prostate removal are incontinence and erectile dysfunction, which can last around 12 months, then typically shows improvement sometimes without therapy. With pelvic floor therapy (yes, men have pelvic floor muscles too), this time period of incontinence can be shortened and a better quality of life can be achieved sooner! A year is a long time to be incontinent, hoping things get better on their own without doing exercises to help things along.
Pelvic floor therapy can also be for the woman with cervical cancer who has had surgery, radiation and hormone therapy and is having vaginal dryness, scar adhesions, incontinence and decreased sexual functioning.
This type of therapy can even help the woman with breast cancer that has to take life-long hormone altering drugs to suppress and reduce the chance of recurrence. The hormonal therapies that women have to take, even after breast cancer is in remission, causes decreased bone density, vaginal dryness, and reduced sexual function.
Pelvic floor therapy can also be for the colorectal cancer client and can help improve bowel function as someone goes through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Why pelvic floor therapy at our practice?
At Be Strong Therapy, we want to treat the whole cancer client, which is one of the reasons why we started this private practice in the first place! We want to provide comprehensive cancer rehab care, and this includes pelvic floor therapy for men and women with cancer.
We want to be able to help people regain their life and live it to its fullest, no matter what type of cancer they have. We cannot exclude pelvic and abdominal cancers from this mission! Incontinence and sexual dysfunction are often overlooked, people think they have to “live with it”, or are too embarrassed to discuss this with their healthcare providers. We want to change this perception and allow people a safe space to discuss issues they may be having. IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T KNOW. Something that may seem so embarrassing to a client, may have an easy fix with exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own home to improve continence, sexual functioning, and lessen pain.
What to expect during a pelvic floor therapy session?
You can expect a thorough evaluation, including conversation and questions regarding your current pelvic health, including bowel and bladder habits, diet, exercise, and areas that cause pain/discomfort. Your physical therapist will assess your posture, back, and hips, and explain findings during the course of the evaluation. Depending on the issue you are seeking therapy for, an internal exam may need to be conducted to assess tissues surrounding the pelvic floor for strength and flexibility of the muscles and fascia in this area. You can expect a detailed plan regarding your pelvic health and goals that will help to track progress over time. These goals will be functional and will help to improve your overall daily quality of life! You can also expect a comprehensive home exercise program that will guide you on what to do at home, that way time in the clinic is spent addressing other deficits.
If you are uncomfortable doing the internal exam at your first session, this can always be postponed until you are more comfortable. The PT will always be sensitive to your comfort level. Please be sure to speak up and know that you are in full control. We are here to help you to live a more comfortable, fulfilling life!
If you have questions regarding pelvic floor therapy or think you would be a good candidate for this type of therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-270-7374.