Pelvic Floor Therapy: More Than Just Doing Kegels

By Shannon Strauch, PTA, STMT-1 on 5/30/2024

A pelvic floor physical therapy office for managing PID symptoms in patients.

Pelvic Floor Therapy: More Than Just Doing Kegels

When people think of pelvic floor therapy, they often think of Kegel exercises. While Kegels are a well-known component of pelvic floor therapy, this specialized field encompasses much more. In fact, pelvic floor therapy is a comprehensive approach to addressing a wide range of pelvic health issues, from urinary incontinence to chronic pelvic pain. Let’s delve into the various aspects of pelvic floor therapy that go beyond the simple Kegel exercise.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus or prostate, and rectum. These muscles play a crucial role in bladder and bowel control, sexual function, and core stability. When the pelvic floor muscles are too tight, too weak, or not functioning correctly, it can lead to a variety of health issues.

Beyond Kegels: A Holistic Approach

  1. Internal and External Manual Therapy

    • Pelvic floor therapists are trained to perform both internal and external manual therapy. This can include internal vaginal or rectal exams to assess muscle tone, strength, and function. Therapists use manual techniques to release tight muscles, alleviate trigger points, and improve tissue mobility. This hands-on approach can significantly reduce pain and improve muscle function.

  2. Biofeedback and Electrical Stimulation

    • Biofeedback is a valuable tool in pelvic floor therapy. It involves using sensors to provide real-time feedback about muscle activity, helping patients learn how to control and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Electrical stimulation can also be used to enhance muscle activation, especially in cases of severe muscle weakness.

  3. Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

    • Proper breathing techniques are essential for pelvic floor health. Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep belly breathing, helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles and improve coordination with the diaphragm. Relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation, can help reduce tension and pain in the pelvic area.

  4. Education on Bladder and Bowel Habits

    • Pelvic floor therapists provide education on healthy bladder and bowel habits. This can include tips on proper voiding positions, dietary recommendations to prevent constipation, and strategies to manage urinary urgency and frequency. Education empowers patients to make lifestyle changes that support pelvic health.

  5. Posture and Body Mechanics

    • Poor posture and improper body mechanics can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor therapy includes an assessment of posture and body mechanics, with corrective exercises and ergonomic advice to improve alignment and reduce strain on the pelvic floor muscles.

  6. Exercise and Movement

    • While Kegels focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, other exercises are also important. Pelvic floor therapists incorporate a variety of exercises to improve overall core strength, flexibility, and pelvic stability. This can include yoga, Pilates, and functional exercises tailored to each patient’s needs.

  7. Sexual Health and Pain Management

    • For individuals experiencing sexual pain or dysfunction, pelvic floor therapy offers solutions. Therapists address issues such as vaginismus, dyspareunia, and erectile dysfunction through a combination of manual therapy, exercises, and education. They work closely with patients to improve sexual health and reduce pain.

The Benefits of a Comprehensive Approach

By addressing the pelvic floor with a multifaceted approach, pelvic floor therapy can achieve remarkable results. Patients often experience significant improvements in symptoms such as incontinence, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction. Moreover, the holistic nature of pelvic floor therapy ensures that underlying issues are addressed, leading to long-term health and well-being.


While Kegel exercises are an important part of pelvic floor therapy, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Pelvic floor therapy is a comprehensive and personalized approach that addresses the unique needs of each patient. By combining manual therapy, biofeedback, education, and targeted exercises, pelvic floor therapists help individuals achieve optimal pelvic health and improve their quality of life. If you’re experiencing pelvic floor issues, reach out to us at Pelvic Health Center in Madison, NJ to set up an evaluation and treatment! Feel free to call us at 908-443-9880 or email us at

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