Appointments: 515-271-1700

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Pelvic health and biofeedback

Disorders of the pelvis include pain, urinary and bowel dysfunction. We understand these issues are personal and private. Our therapists have special training in the assessment and treatment of these disorders and will provide you with trauma-informed and equitable health care. On your initial examination, your therapist will ask you questions related to frequency of urinary or bowel elimination, diet, exercise and effect on functional activities.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor consists of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis that help hold up your bladder and close off the bottom of your abdominal cavity. The abdominal cavity is like a can: it is closed on top by your diaphragm, in back by your spine and back muscles and in front by your abdominal muscles. These pelvic floor muscles are unique in that they should be able to relax and stretch down as well as lift for contraction, almost like a trampoline. This ability to contract and relax is important in understanding what dysfunction is and how it can be problematic. The pelvic floor also closes off the urethra, helping hold urine in.

Is pelvic floor dysfunction affecting you?

Fill out our pelvic health screening questions to see how we can help you get back to feeling and functioning your best.

Treatable pelvic health issues

What does a pelvic examination include?

Physical examination will include palpation of your abdomen, pelvis, groin, low back or hips, muscle strength assessment of your trunk, hip and groin muscles (the pelvic floor), and movement of your hips and spine. Therapists are trained in internal examination of the pelvic floor which assist with bowel and bladder control and are often tight or weak with pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and bowel dysfunction. Additionally, our therapists are specially trained in the use of Electromyographic Biofeedback to assist with assessment of muscle tone of the pelvic floor muscles.

Treatment plans

After assessment, an individual plan of care will be set up with the patient. Treatment may involve muscle re-education with Biofeedback to strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles, manual therapy, strengthening to the abdominal, hip or pelvis muscles, education, and behavior modification techniques. We want to achieve your desired goals in a caring and supportive environment.

Appointments 515-271-1717
Hours Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location 3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312

I spent many years suffering unknowingly from pelvic floor dysfunction and doctors could not explain my pain. When I would ask them why I had pain, they would answer “I don’t know.” It wasn’t until I met the amazing Kari Smith that I gained answers, information, a treatment plan and hope. Kari operates from a trauma-informed and empowering approach. Kari was extremely patient with me throughout my treatment and celebrated every small victory with me along the way. I have never been so excited to feel so normal! I recommend Kari and DMU PT to everyone!

Courtney Mergen, Clinic patient

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Physical therapy treatments for pelvic pain

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What is pelvic floor dysfunction and how can physical therapy help?

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Male incontinence and prostate

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Let’s talk about sex…ual dysfunction?

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When you are running, walking or just doing other daily movements, the pelvic floor plays a major yet often silent role. What is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor consists of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis that help …

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Physical therapy and pregnancy: As one little body grows, yours doesn’t need to fall apart

As I get further into my twenties, it has been such a treat to be surrounded by more pregnant women than ever before. Having never been pregnant myself, I always have many questions about what it is like to carry …

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To Pee or Not to Pee (In Your Pants)–Is That the Question?

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Ease the pains of pregnancy

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Student seeks to bring unique services to rural Iowa

Jayna Hoover, D.P.T.’15, hopes to eventually return to rural Kossuth County, IA, where she grew up. “The area has predominantly male physical therapists. Last winter, I began contemplating, ‘What can I bring to the area?’” She wasn’t thinking about just …

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Breathing is so cool

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Kari Smith becomes first Iowa physical therapist board certified in biofeedback

Kari Smith, D.P.T., ATC, BCB-PMD, received board certification in pelvic muscle dysfunction biofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA). She becomes the only physical therapist in Iowa certified as a provider of biofeedback services. Smith is an assistant professor …

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Dealing with urinary incontinence

Wetting one’s pants after sneezing. Discomfort while sitting. Painful intercourse. Millions of women are believed to suffer these and other pelvic floor disorders along with the physical, emotional and social nightmares they create. Many suffer silently, too embarrassed to discuss these issues even with their physicians.

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