At Joint Space, our pelvic health physiotherapist specializes in female pelvic health, but both men and children can get help from a pelvic health physiotherapist.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist is specialized in treating conditions related to the pelvic floor. It is an area that many may feel a bit ashamed to talk about because let’s face it, it is a sensitive and private area. However, the number of people suffering from different issues is huge, and therefore it is so important that we speak about it, inform about it, and make it as equally normal to seek help, as if you have pain in your shoulder.
Why is it important to seek help from a pelvic health physio?
First, many people suffer with these issues in silence, or even worse, they have talked to either a close one around them or their doctor and been told that “well it’s just part of being a woman”. Being met like this is not ok! No issues are too small or too big to get help for, and you deserve to be taken seriously and listened to.
Second, suffering from these conditions can greatly impact your life, your physical and mental health.
- It may affect the way you look at yourself.
- Your confidence and participation in life.
- Make you feel alone and isolated.
- Keep you from participating fully in your life like running after your kids or jumping on the trampoline, to engaging in hobbies and other social activities, or even your work.
- Keep you from participating in sports and physical activities where your symptoms worsen
- Affect your sexual health and freedom, and impact your relationship with your partner.
- Lead to depression and anxiety.
Who can see a pelvic health physiotherapist:
Anyone! From young female athletes to women in their childbearing years to people entering or having been through menopause. Pelvic issues are not only related to those who’ve given birth. Many young female athletes for example may struggle with leaking related to their sport. Below I will mention a few common conditions for when to see a pelvic health physiotherapist. If you don’t recognize yourself in any of these you can still see a pelvic health physio!
- Female athletes suffering from leaking or pain in the pelvis, hips, or lower back
- Postpartum check-up and guidance in your healing after childbirth whether you had a c-section or vaginal delivery
- If you suffer from any type of pain in your vulva, vagina, rectum, tailbone, pelvic girdle, hips, or lower back.
- If you suffer from constipation
- If you experience pain during or after sex
- If you suffer from leaking of either urine, stool, or gas
- After surgeries
- Chronic pelvic, vulvar, or vaginal conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse, PCOS, endometriosis, period pain, and painful bladder syndrome to name a few.
What happens during a pelvic floor consultation?
It may feel a bit nerve-wracking to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist but know that this session is on your terms.
We will start with a talk and you get the chance to explain your history and any concerns. We are not only focused on your pelvic floor. As with any physiotherapy consultation, we will do some functional testing, looking at how you move through different movements like walking, squatting, bending, etc. If you agree to it we can continue with an external and internal assessment of your pelvic floor.
In the internal assessment, which many are a bit nervous about, we insert one finger into your vagina. We can check if you are able to contract your pelvic floor muscles (aka doing a Kegel) and it can give us an idea of your muscle tone and strength. We can also assess for any painful areas if there’s any bulging etc.
Not everyone feels ready for an internal assessment and that’s ok. During the external assessment, we can also feel for any tender areas and ask you to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. If you have given birth we will also have a look at your scars if you have had a c-section or any stitches or scars after tearing/episiotomy.
Every person is unique and has different stories. Some may need more of the first session to talk and we have less time for the assessment, and vice versa. We may or may not have time to assess your pelvic floor muscles during different functions like squats or jumps. If we don’t get the chance in the first session, this will be assessed further on.