Women’s pelvic health is a specialized area of physiotherapy practice. Treatment involves an individualized approach for each client, based on your symptomatic presentation, findings during your examination with your physiotherapist, and your personal goals for treatment. Some of the reasons you may seek out a women’s pelvic health assessment include the following:
Your assessment will always begin with a discussion regarding your symptoms, past medical history, and potential contributing factors. You will work together with your physiotherapist to help determine the source of your symptoms, and most appropriate intervention for you. Your physical exam may involve assessment of your posture, breathing patter/style, low back, hips, generalized motor patterning, strength and flexibility, and/or an internal exam of the muscles of the pelvic floor. The examination will help you and your physiotherapist to determine factors contributing to your symptoms, and the best course of action to meet your treatment goals. In addition, you may be asked to complete some questionnaires and/or diaries regarding your daily habits to assist in determining what may help.
Common questions about Women’s Pelvic Health
Is an internal exam essential?
While an internal examination to assess the muscles of the pelvic floor may be suggested as a part of your assessment, it is never essential. You, together with your physiotherapist, will discuss the best assessment approach for you.
Do I need to do any special preparation prior to my examination?
No special preparation is necessary. Please come to the assessment in comfortable clothing, and nothing extra is required by means of grooming.
I have already tried kegels and they don’t seem to work. Is it worth it for me to come for an assessment?
Absolutely! It is a common belief that all pelvic floor dysfunction is caused by weakness in the pelvic floor. There are many reasons that the pelvic floor may not be functioning well, and weakness is only one of those possibilities. In addition, it is quite common that pelvic floor contractions (kegels) are not being done correctly. A thorough assessment and teaching can help to determine if this is the appropriate intervention, and if so, ensure that these exercises are being performed correctly.
Can all physiotherapists assess women’s pelvic health?
Our physiotherapists practicing women’s pelvic health have received advanced training in this area. The internal examination is a controlled act, and those physiotherapists who practice with internal examinations as part of their treatment approach have been trained to do so with specific education.