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The SoWH Blog

Stay up to date on the latest Section HQ news, patient and practitioner education and member stories!

Section on Women's Health

Section on Women's Health

Section on Women’s Health-American Physical Therapy Association (SoWH) is a professional association of more than 3,000 physical therapists. Members provide the latest evidence-based physical therapy services to everyone from childbearing women to peri-menopausal mothers, young athletes to men with incontinence or other pelvic health complications. To learn more, visit

Recent Posts:

Embarrassed or Shy to Talk to Your Primary Healthcare Provider?

It is important that your primary healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) know about everything that has to do with your body, your health and how you feel.

Urinary Incontinence: Causes, Symptoms, Physical Therapy Treatment

What is Urinary Incontinence? Urinary incontinence refers to accidental leakage of urine. There are several types of urinary incontinence including stress, urge, mixed and functional incontinence.

Pelvic Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Physical Therapy Treatment

What is Pelvic Pain? Pelvic pain is described as an aching or burning pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or perineum.  The cause of pelvic pain can be complex, and the symptoms often fluctuate, making a diagnosis difficult.  Both men and women can be affected, however women are most often impacted.  If left untreated, pelvic pain can persist and negatively impact daily function and quality of life.  

Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms, Physical Therapy Treatment

What is Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by decreased density and structure of bones, causing bones to become weak or brittle. These changes increase a person’s risk for breaking a bone. The lower one’s bone density, the greater the risk of fracture.  Osteoporosis is a silent disease, meaning people are often unaware of these bony changes until after they break a bone. The spine, hip and wrist are the most common bones to fracture.  These fractures impact a person’s mobility, functional independence, reduce height, and cause pain.

Musculoskeletal Dysfunction During Pregnancy and After Childbirth

What musculoskeletal issues are common during pregnancy and after childbirth? Pregnancy and postpartum are times of great change for a woman - physically, emotionally, and hormonally. As the fetus grows during pregnancy, the musculoskeletal system is challenged by altered posture, muscle imbalances, and changes in spinal mobility. These changes may cause pain, difficulty with balance, and reduced activity. In the postpartum phase, physical changes experienced during pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a newborn may result in joint, nerve and/or muscle strain.

Activating Your Pelvic Floor Muscles using Kegels and Physical Therapy

What is a “Kegel” exercise? A Kegel is a contraction of your pelvic floor muscles and is more accurately called a “pelvic floor muscle contraction” or “pelvic muscle exercise”.  Performing a pelvic floor muscle contraction (Kegel) can assist with bladder and bowel control, since these muscles support the bladder, bowels, uterus, and rectum.

First Physical Therapist Visit for Incontinence? Here's What to Expect

A Physical Therapist (PT) with specialized training in pelvic floor muscle dysfunction will perform a detailed evaluation in a private setting during your first visit. This will include understanding your general medical history, history related to your current condition, stress level, preferred activities and lifestyle, and your desired goals. You’ll be asked questions about your eating, drinking, and bathroom habits.

Questions to Ask your Physical Therapist

Choosing to participate in physical therapy, or specialized (pelvic, obstetric, lymphedema) physical therapy, can seem like a daunting experience.  Discussing personal and sensitive topics such as pelvic pain, along with bladder, bowel, and/or sexual concerns, can be difficult.  Establishing open lines of communication with your physical therapist is essential for successful treatment.  Knowing the right questions to ask can help you gain trust and determine if a particular therapist is a good fit for you.  Consider asking the following questions to help make an informed decision when deciding on a healthcare provider.

Lymphedema: Causes, Symptoms, Physical Therapy Treatment

What is Lymphedema? Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymphatic system of the body is unable to properly transport lymph fluid from the tissue spaces back to the blood stream, leading to swelling in the limbs, trunk, genitalia, head, neck, or anywhere there is lymphatic tissue. Protein-rich lymphatic fluid is different than typical edema or swelling and can only be drained by the lymphatic vessels.  Because lymphedema is often mechanical in nature (meaning the structure of the lymphatic system is compromised), lymphedema is a life-long condition.  Finding and addressing lymphedema early helps ensure faster, more successful outcomes.  However, individuals with chronic lymphedema can also benefit significantly from physical therapy interventions.  There is no cure, but the condition can be managed successfully.

Do I need a referral for Physical Therapy? If so, how do I get one?

Although laws in most states allow you to receive physical therapy services without a referral from a medical provider, some insurances require a referral for an evaluation and/or treatment. It is recommended you call your insurance company to verify their requirements as well as what your state laws allow before participating in therapy.

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