What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a set of muscles that are designed to provide support for your pelvic organs, help to control intra abdominal pressure, control bladder and bowel function and help provide pleasure with sexual intercourse.
The muscles connect to the pubic bone, tailbone, and sit bones.
The pelvic floor can become weak following pregnancy and childbirth, lack of exercise, postural changes, and post surgery or pelvic trauma.
The pelvic floor can also become overactive, where there is a shortening of the muscles and this can result in painful intercourse, pelvic pain and lower back pain.
What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?
Pelvic Health physiotherapy targets the pelvic floor muscles, connective tissues, ligaments and pelvic bones. If there is a dysfunction in the pelvic floor complex, this can interfere with proper functioning of the pelvic organs.
What can Pelvic Health Physiotherapy help with?
- Urinary incontinence, frequency and urgency
- Painful intercourse
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction – urgency, incontinence and constipation
- Menopause symptoms
- Pain in pelvis, hips, abdomen, thigh or lower back
- Rectal pain
- Pregnancy and post par-tum
- Testicular pain
- Unexplained pain
Who needs Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Anyone who is experiencing any of the above symptoms should be referred to see a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist either by self-referral, via gynecologist or urologist, or family doctor.
What to expect in a Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Assessment
Your physiotherapist will complete a thorough subjective assessment, collecting all relevant history regarding your symptoms. This includes questions about your bladder, bowel, sexual function, hips, tailbone and lower back.
Your therapist will then assess the following, depending on the concerns raised in your subjective:
- Postural screen
- Functional review
- Breathing (the diaphragm and the pelvic floor work together
- Spinal movement assessment
- Lower extremity motion and strength testing
- Assessment of connective tissues of the abdomen, thighs and pelvis.
All of the above may or may not be covered on your initial assessment and alternatively will be completed in a follow up session.Your therapist will then complete an internal pelvic floor assessment; this digital exam provides the most accurate information about how the pelvic floor muscles are functioning, and whether they require strengthening or lengthening using manual techniques and exercises. The internal exam can be completed vaginally or rectally.
Your physiotherapist will provide you with all the information regarding risks and benefits of the internal exam prior to gaining consent.
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