A Women’s health physiotherapist is a physiotherapist who specialises in conditions relating to pelvic, obstetrics and gynaecological conditions. For example…
· Pain during pregnancy, including pelvic girdle pain.
· Postnatal Pain.
· Diastasis of rectus abdominis (tummy muscle separation following pregnancy.)
· Pelvic floor related problems.
· Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.
· Vulval, pelvic floor pain and dyspareunia (painful intercourse).
· Chronic pelvic pain.
The assessment required will be tailored to the needs of the women. With antenatal and postnatal back and pelvic pain, a full assessment of the back and pelvic area including posture and muscle control will be carried out.
Pelvic floor and continence problems may require an internal examination to fully assess the pelvic floor. This type of assessment is different to a GP or gynaecologist assessment for the following reason.
When Doctors are conducting a medical assessment they are wanting to check that there is nothing abnormal and sinister present and that the anatomy is correct. They will usually use a speculum and may take a swab to rule out infections. Some people may find this uncomfortable, however these assessments may be necessary to rule out pathology.
Women’s health physiotherapists will always take a detailed history by asking you a number of questions relating to your problem. If the physiotherapist suspects a medical reason for your symptoms they may suggest you visit your GP for medical examination or testing. If a medical examination is not indicated the physiotherapist may suggest a vaginal examination to accurately assess the pelvic floor and surrounding structures.
Women’s health physiotherapists look at how the muscles, joints and nerves work and interact. For this reason we don’t use medical equipment and will often examine muscles both externally and internally (manually using a finger).
The pelvic floor is extremely complicated and needs thorough assessment so that treatment can be tailored to the individual’s needs. This treatment may include a combination of exercise, manual therapy and condition related education. If you are unsure if you require a women’s health assessment, we will be happy to contact to discuss treatment options with you.