Immediate Effects of Exercise and Behavioral Interventions for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Lumbopelvic Pain

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy

Authors: Marc Bonis, PhD, Jennifer Lormand, BS, Christina Walsh, PT 

Are non-invasive assessment and treatment procedures effective for those with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic organ prolapse?

In this quantitative, longitudinal study, authors tested the hypothesis that, “a new protocol of specific exercise and behavioral interventions will offer statistically significant improvements in symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and mild pelvic organ prolapse (stage 1 or 2) in women”. 

What sets this study apart from others is that all assessment and intervention techniques were performed in a non-invasive manner. For example, in this study, pelvic floor muscle activation assessment consisted of external palpation of ischial pelvic floor muscle attachment with a fully clothed patient in a standardized side-lying position. 

While the standard for assessing pelvic floor function typically requires a thorough examination including internal assessment, this is not always possible. From the patient-centered perspective, it is common for patients to opt for a non-invasive assessment due to their personal preference. For example, those suffering from pain and/or history of trauma or abuse may benefit from being presented with an external option. From a therapist perspective, those who are not highly trained to be able to perform a skilled internal examination can learn to include an external pelvic floor muscle activation assessment to offer a more complete picture of patient presentation. This can help support the bridge between orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapy practice, allowing for more timely referral to specialist provider and interdisciplinary consultation when needed.

Read the research report to find out more about immediate effects of exercise and behavioral interventions utilized in this study.

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