October 21, 2023
If you’ve been dealing with pelvic floor issues for a while and have been contemplating surgery as a potential solution, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary information before making a decision. As a pelvic floor physical therapist with over 21 years of experience, I’ve helped numerous women navigate this very question. In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors to consider when contemplating pelvic floor surgery, the importance of conservative options, and the role of pelvic floor physical therapy in achieving long-term success.
Deciding whether surgery is the right choice for you can be challenging since individual circumstances vary. It’s essential to recognize that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, certain surgeries, such as urethral slings for stress incontinence, have shown consistently positive outcomes. Patients often experience long-term relief and improved symptoms after undergoing these procedures. It’s worth noting that combining pelvic floor physical therapy with surgery yields even better results.
Before jumping into surgery, I always recommend exploring conservative treatment options, including pelvic floor physical therapy. Pelvic floor PT has evolved significantly over the years and goes beyond traditional kegel-based exercises. It now encompasses a comprehensive approach that addresses various aspects such as diet, hydration, exercise, movement, and lifestyle modifications.
While your surgeon may not recommend it, undergoing pelvic floor physical therapy before and after surgery can significantly enhance your outcomes. By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and optimizing their function, you can better support your organs and prevent future complications. It’s essential to commit to a pelvic floor PT program to address the underlying issues that led to the need for surgery in the first place.
When it comes to surgeries for prolapse and incontinence, it’s crucial to examine the reasons behind the conditions. For instance, childbirth, pregnancy, chronic constipation, or improper bowel movement techniques can contribute to weakened pelvic floor muscles and prolapse. Surgery alone cannot fix these underlying issues. By addressing these factors through pelvic floor physical therapy, you can achieve better long-term results and minimize the chances of symptom recurrence.
Taking ownership of your health and making lifestyle changes are crucial components of managing pelvic floor issues. While surgery may be an option in certain cases, it’s essential to commit to self-care practices that support your pelvic floor function. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, engaging in regular exercise, and adopting movement strategies that minimize stress on your pelvic floor. By integrating these practices into your life, you can maximize the benefits of surgery and reduce the likelihood of future complications.
As a living example, I’ve successfully managed my bladder prolapse for 15 years without surgery. By practicing the same methods I teach my clients—comprehensive pelvic floor PT, lifestyle modifications, and exercise—I’ve remained symptom-free throughout the years. While surgery may be an option, it’s crucial to exhaust conservative treatments and commit to self-care before considering surgical interventions.
In summary, the decision to undergo pelvic floor surgery is a highly individual one. While some surgeries, like urethral slings, have shown positive outcomes, it’s important to consider conservative options first. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be instrumental in achieving long-term success and preventing symptom recurrence. By committing to a holistic approach that combines lifestyle changes, exercise, and self-care, you can optimize your pelvic floor health and make an informed decision regarding surgery. Remember to consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist to guide you through the process and address any concerns you may have.