Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is ideal for both men, and women who are having issues related to incontinence, prolapse, or pelvic pain. It can help determine if the pelvic floor muscles are overactive or under-active.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a therapeutic stream of physiotherapy requiring additional training and education to help both women and men who are experiencing pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
What Issues Can Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Help With?
- Urinary and Fecal Incontinence
- Organ Prolapse
- Pelvic Pain
- Sexual Dysfunction
What is the role of the Pelvic Floor Muscles?
- To keep us continent
- To support our pelvic organs
- To maintain good bladder and bowel function
- To enhance our sexual function
What happens during an initial appointment?
Though each session may be slightly different, an assessment is always performed during the first appointment. An internal assessment of the pelvic floor is necessary which involves a vaginal and/or rectal exam, which gives information about your pelvic floor such as:
- Muscle strength/endurance
- Muscle stiffness/flexibility
- Evidence or not of an organ prolapse
What sort of treatment is prescribed?
Depending on what the therapist has found, one or more of the following may be treatment options:
- Muscle-strengthening exercises
- Release exercises
- Posture changes
- Bladder/bowel habit retraining
- Trigger point release
How Many Sessions Are Necessary?
Every person has a different presentation and has different needs. For some, an initial assessment and a follow-up are sufficient whereas others will need more manual treatment. This is discussed during the initial session.
Who is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy appropriate for?
- All people without pelvic floor dysfunction who want to know how well their pelvic floor is working
- Both men and women who are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction
- Prenatal women: Thinking about starting a family? One session with a pelvic floor physio will let you know how your pelvic floor is doing and what you would benefit from doing in preparation for pregnancy.
- Pregnant Women: Already pregnant? This is still a valuable time to have an assessment and is most suitable after the first trimester.
- Already had one or more babies? Once you are 6 weeks post-natal, it is safe to have an assessment. If you are experiencing symptoms of urinary leakage past the 3-6 month mark, an internal pelvic floor exam is needed.
- Athletes (Runners, Crossfitters, etc.): Learn to stay dry while running, lifting heavy, etc.
- Women who have/have not had babies but notice they are going to the bathroom far too often on a daily basis and know where all the local bathrooms are when out for a walk.
- Pre-Surgery: Men and women fare much better if they know how to work on their pelvic floor muscles before they have an abdominal or pelvic surgery.
Important Points to Remember
- Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help with your pelvic floor issues!
- Incontinence is very common but not normal
- Women should be able to return to being continent after a few months of having given birth
- Just because you are becoming older does not mean you should become incontinent
- Having a minor incontinence issue will rarely go away by ignoring it. If you only “leak a little” once in awhile, when your bladder is full and you sneeze or enjoy a big laughing session with your best friend…this is still an issue that will likely increase!
What are the pelvic floor muscles?
These muscles extend between your tailbone and your pubic bone and lie between each sit bone. They help keep us continent, support our pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum, prostate), help us maintain overall good bladder/bowel function and help enhance our sexual function.
Why is an internal exam necessary?
We can’t see our pelvic floor muscles on the outside of our bodies so we really can’t be sure what state they are in. They work very hard supporting our internal organs, controlling continence and bowel function and assisting with sexual function. Because they have such important jobs to do, we need to make sure they are in good working order. If everyone who reported issues with incontinence or pelvic pain were given Kegels to do, many people would see absolutely no difference and might even experience more discomfort. Kegels are not the treatment of choice if the pelvic floor muscles are very tight, as they often are. We tend to hold a lot of stress in this area. Kegels, however, are very beneficial for weak pelvic floor muscles. This is why we need to determine if someone’s pelvic floor muscles are weak or tight. There is only one way to properly assess this and that is through an internal examination.