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"Leaking When You Sneeze? How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help"

What most women accept as normal as they age and have children is not medically the case. Pelvic floor therapy does not only help control dribbles while coughing or laughing, there are so many great benefits and most women don't know there is help.


Kristyn Riley

Kristyn Riley, Women's Health Physical Therapist at the Therapy and Sports Rehab Center specializes in treatment and therapy for many conditions that may be causing pain, discomfort, and disruptions to women's daily lives. "Through therapy many women start to see results in just a few sessions," explains Kristyn.




"What I love most about Women's Health PT is helping women of all ages and backgrounds make a drastic difference in their daily lives, in just a matter of a few treatment sessions."

Model patient being educated on pelvic floor by Kristyn.

What is a Pelvic Floor?

Everyone has a pelvic floor. It's made up of the muscles that support the urinary and reproductive tracts. These muscles also control your bladder and bowels. The pelvic floor muscles attach your pubic bone to your tailbone and in between your sit bones to make up the floor of your core. Functions include: support for your abdominal and pelvic organs, controlling your ability to hold or release contents of your bladder and bowels, sexual function, and posture.


A women's health physical therapist goes through additional post graduate training to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal conditions specific to women, including:

  • Pregnancy and post-partum related issues

  • Pelvic pain

  • Urinary or fecal incontinence

  • Pelvic organ prolapse


Pelvic floor muscles can become stretched during childbirth, weak with aging, or hypertonic with increased stress.


Model patient and Kristyn do pelvic floor exercies.

Do I Need to See a Woman's Health Physical Therapist?

If you experience any of the following, you may benefit from seeing a women's health PT:

  • Leaking of urine or feces when you cough, sneeze, jump, or perform any other form of exercise

  • Frequent need to urinate, strong urgency or feeling of incomplete ability to empty your bladder

  • Any leaking of urine, unrelated to movement or activity.

  • Pain with intercourse or gynecological exam

  • Pregnant and experiencing back pain, pubic symphysis pain, hip pain, or round ligament pain

  • History of childbirth and have diastasis recti (when your belly sticks out because the space between your left and right belly muscles has widened) or problems with a c-section scar

  • Pelvic pressure or prolapse


Model patient gets examined by Kristyn.

What To Expect

During your first consultation with Kristyn she will ask a variety of questions regarding your symptoms, family history, and health history. Then she will perform a physical exam of your posture, lower back and SIJ movement, abdominal muscle function, and hip muscle flexibility.


An internal assessment of the pelvic floor may be needed to assess the following:

A treatment plan typically consists of 1-2 visits per week over a span of 8-12 weeks. Many patients reach their goals within just 4-8 in-person visits. During your sessions there will be a strong emphasis on education and adherence to a home exercise program. Those who perform their at home exercises as instructed usually see greater results in a shorter length of time.


All of these conditions are common, but they are not normal, and can be treated with physical therapy by a women's health physical therapist. No matter your age or history, it is NOT normal to leak, have pain or feel pressure "down there". Get help! Talk to your doctor about a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist or call the Therapy & Sports Rehab Center at 618-826-4588 for more information.

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