| Tara Langdale
Pelvic floor issues are becoming increasingly common in modern times. According to a national survey, nearly a quarter of American women have a pelvic floor disorder these days, so you would think that Doctors would be quick to mention pelvic floor therapy… however, it doesn’t seem to be the case. As a result many women suffer in silence or feel that they’ve hit a brick wall when it comes to finding out how to treat their issues.
The pelvic floor consists of a network of muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissues. In women, this crucial network supports the bladder, womb, vagina and rectum and ensures proper function of all. When things go wrong, a woman can suffer from issues such as incontinence and vaginal prolapse. These are worst-case scenarios that can be triggered by childbirth and other traumas in this area. However, the pelvic floor can become dysfunctional through stress, over-exercising, or not exercising at all, resulting in pelvic floor muscle tightness or weakened muscles.
Below we will look into the reasons why Doctors don’t tell women about pelvic floor therapy as often as they should:
Why Doctors don’t tell women about pelvic floor therapy
There are a few reasons for this. Some healthcare professionals aren’t quite up to speed with the statistics that are available on the prevalence of this problem. This is exacerbated by the fact that women don’t always report some of the symptoms because they’re shy or embarrassed, so recorded statistics may not be as high as they should be.
Some Doctors are under the impression that women don’t often get pelvic floor disorders, and because those can be pretty minor at times, they may not be given as much attention as they deserve. The issue isn’t always vocalized even when Doctors are aware of it, perhaps because they are inclined to avoid putting ideas in women’s heads and causing worry about something that may not be at the root of their problems at all.
There is one bigger reason that Doctors don’t always tell women about pelvic floor therapy though: despite the importance of this muscle group, many Doctors (and even gynecology experts) don’t fully understand how it works. Even obstetrics and gynecology professors have been known to admit that the physiology is considered as complex as the human brain, heart or gut. The main difference is that the latter body parts function involuntarily. Many of these experts consider this part of the body to be mysterious and are aware that there is a lot more anatomical knowledge yet to be uncovered.
The reasons for avoidance get increasingly complex
For one thing, as the pelvic floor system is buried beneath the pelvis, it is not possible to access the area. Add to this the fact that it is intertwined with connective tissues and nerves, and GPs may have a bit of a puzzle on their hands. With this and the above problems in mind, it’s not hard to work out why Doctors might prefer to avoid the topic of pelvic floor physical therapy.
What’s more, historically more attention was given to issues within the male anatomy, and female anatomy was viewed as a kind of variation of this. This may not be how things are these days, but in some areas of study there is clearly still a bit of a delay in catching up. This seems to be the case when it comes to the pelvic floor.
Finally, due to the lack of public discussion on women’s pelvic floor issues, funding hasn’t been prioritized for research into this area. It would also take more effort to get Congress to grant such a thing when there are many more pressing medical issues (perception-wise, at least) to resolve.
Having said all of this, the tides may be turning, albeit gradually. There are now plenty of specialists in pelvic floor therapy waiting to help. Therefore, if you suspect you may have some pelvic floor muscle problems, you can ask your Doctor to refer you to one, and you’ll be much more likely to get a definitive answer as to what your problem is. We have written several articles on the pelvic floor and pelvic floor physical therapy, so you’ll simply need to search ‘pelvic floor’ via our search bar and you’ll find a wealth of informative articles.