Movement, Exercise, and Breathing with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Physical therapists are in a unique position to evaluate and treat pelvic organ prolapse with movement, exercise, and breathing assessments. Some women want to get to the top of the stairs, others to the top of Mt. Rainer without symptom aggravation. The physical therapy goals are to minimize symptoms, continue activity and maximize functional performance. We assess pelvic floor muscles and prolapse stages, evaluate global muscle/joint function, breathing patterns, and functional activity patterns. The articles reviewed reinforce the fact that no single solution will be effective for every patient. A comprehensive approach should consider patient goals, current scientific evidence, and examination findings.

Although these studies provide information about functional activities and Intraabdominal pressure (IAP), differences in the way IAP was measured make it difficult to compare results. They also address the utilization of behavioral interventions such as the “Knack” maneuver and breathing pattern terminology. My goal is to keep women moving and exercising to their maximum potential. Keeping current on the research is a vital component of patient care.

I hope you enjoy these literature reviews. If you are a pelvic health therapist interested in continuing education, please see my Teaching page.

These literature reviews were developed with Thanh-Thao Truong, SPT as part of an independent study project at the University of Washington, Department of Physical Medicine, School of Physical Therapy.

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