Occupational therapists' role in treating pelvic floor dysfunction across the lifespan

My project sought to explore occupational therapists’ role in treating pelvic floor dysfunction across the lifespan.

Student: Monica Williams, OTD, OTR/L
Mentors: Kassie Dewitt, OTD, OTR/L & Ashlee Snyder-Cox, OTR/L
School: Creighton University
Setting and location: Outpatient services at Lee’s Summit Medical Center & Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO (Hybrid)


  • Investigated occupational therapy’s role in pelvic floor rehabilitation through courses and mentorship & advocated and explained OT’s role on social media platform

  • Researched and implemented evidence-based interventions for pediatrics and adults experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction

  • Created brochure detailing common pelvic floor dysfunction diagnoses and symptoms for pediatrics and adults, along with treatment protocols

  • Analyzed pelvic floor questionnaires to complement standard evaluation questions in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of pelvic floor dysfunction in pediatrics.

Pelvic floor dysfunction impacts every occupation: ADLs, IADLs, play, leisure, rest and sleep, work, education, and social participation. Occupational therapists incorporate a holistic approach using a biomechanical and psychosocial lens together in treatments to address occupations disrupted by pelvic floor dysfunction.

Ideas for next steps:

  • Address the sensory system particularly interoception in pediatrics with constipation
  • Address the correlation between pelvic floor dysfunction & postpartum depression
  • Create incontinence program in SNF, home health, nursing home, etc.


  • Don’t be overly too narrow on types of pelvic floor dysfunction
  • You will find people no matter what age or gender who are suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction. Don’t limit yourself to one subset of people.

Download the poster here: Monica Williams_Progam Development_.pdf (958.4 KB)


I just read this poster- and it made me feel so motivated to have @lindsey6 back to the podcast to talk about pelvic health with older adults! @lindsey6 or @monica2 if you know of a journal article that could anchor our discussion let me know. I’ll be looking as well. There is such an unmeet need out there- and I think this should become a baseline skill of every OT.

@TiffanyLee, I keep thinking about your idea of a mini curruclum for OT departments to use. I think that is so needed!


@monica2 I love this poster and your extensive research!!! You are doing INCREDIBLE work!!! The graphic is so easy to follow and beautiful to boot! @SarahLyon It would be my pleasure to be a guest back on your podcast! I am working on a presentation for the ArizOTA chapter that enables more and more OTs to see how applicable and relevant pelvic health is for all our clients – not just OTs who choose to specialize in pelvic health! The work is incredibly rewarding… we have the time, the BPS training and nothing is more ADL/IADL than pelvic health!

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Send me in any articles you come across as your preparing that might be good to discuss. My impression of the research base on this is that we need to be looking outside of OT-specific research! And, there is still a need to grow our own evidence base…

There is definitely a gap in research with OT’s addressing pelvic floor dysfunction in any sort of setting, but particularly in the older adult population. I think it is important to start w/ educating in OT school curriculum common PF symptoms that OTs may come across so that they can send a referral or do some basic pelvic floor education themselves!

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