What is Women’s Health Physical Therapy?

Ellen and Lauren in a garden

My name is Lauren and I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I have been practicing in the heart of New York City for almost a decade and specialize in women’s health and pelvic floor issues. This pretty much means that I treat the “lady parts.” 

Over the years, I noticed women’s health issues are swept under the rug and usually not taken seriously by many doctors. Most patients that come to me have already seen dozens of doctors with no success. By the time they find me, they are already depressed and hopeless. My mission is to spread awareness about women’s health physical therapy and all it has to offer.

Here are 3 of the most common conditions women’s health physical therapists treat:

1.    Pain with sex

Dyspareunia, otherwise known as pain with sex, is devastating. It can ruin relationships and it can also make a woman feel unwomanly. Usually, women will express that they have painful intercourse to their gynecologist and their doctor would respond with “use more lube” or “do more foreplay.” Some women would also hear “it’s all in your head.” Women end up leaving their doctor’s office feeling helpless, or even worse, thinking painful sex is normal. 

2.    Urinary incontinence

Women are led to believe that because they are a woman, leaking urine is normal. My grandma would say, “I’m old so it’s normal to pee on myself a little bit when I cough.” My friend who has a 2 year old toddler would say, “I gave birth so it’s normal to leak urine when I exercise.” Leaking urine is so normalized that women don’t realize they can get help for it.

3.    Pregnant and post-partum women

Having a baby is traumatic to your body. Think about it. A baby has been growing within your body for months. Then, you either have a c-section (which is a major surgery) or you push out an 8lb baby from your tiny vagina. Finally, you are sent home on your own to deal with all the issues that may come with delivering a child such as vaginal tearing from natural child-birth, scarring from a c-section, vaginal pain, constipation, urinary and fecal incontinence, diastasis recti (separation of your abdominal muscles), and the list goes on.

What do we do and what can you do?

Women’s health physical therapists use researched-based treatment options including manual therapy, exercise prescription, neuromuscular re-education, and biofeedback. A typical session starts with a lot of talking to find out more about you. Then, we assess the entire body, which may include an internal vaginal and/or rectal examination. Finally, we come up with a treatment plan tailored just for you. 

Unfortunately, women’s health is not talked about enough. The lack of attention on this topic is the reason why so many women are suffering alone. So, my goal is to get people talking. Talk about your vagina. Talk about all the uncomfortable things like sex, pee, and poop. Let’s spread the word about women’s health physical therapy. Let’s get women feeling empowered and get the help that they need. 

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Author pic of Lauren and Ellen

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Ellen and Lauren

Physical therapists specializing in orthopedic and sports injuries as well as women’s health and pelvic floor issues. We are huge advocates of health, fitness, and women empowerment.