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
· Incontinence (both bladder and bowel)
· Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms
· Vulval, pelvic floor pain and dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
· Chronic pelvic pain
. Bowel dysfunction
The assessment required will be tailored to the needs of the individual and the presenting problem.
Ante-natal and post-natal assessment
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 Assessment
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.
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 and only with your consent that a vaginal or rectal examination to accurately assess the pelvic floor and surrounding structures. If you have only booked a 30 minute initial assessment then you will asked about performing an internal examination (if required) on a subsequent follow up session.
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.
Problem's with the pelvic floor can occur when the muscles are too weak (hypotonic) too tight (hypertonic) or can be a combination of both! It is very important to determine with the pelvic floor muscles: -
. Strength and endurance
. Balance between the left and right sides
. Whether the muscles can both contract and relax effectively
. The resting position and muscle tone of the pelvic floor
. Whether the anterior and posterior pelvic muscles are working appropriately
Once we have performed the necessary tests then we can establish a picture of how the findings relate to your problem and plan a treatment program based on short and longer term goals. This treatment may include a combination of exercise, manual therapy and condition related education.
The length of time and number of sessions you will require is very varied. Some women may only require 1 session, others may require two sessions per week for a short period, finally some women may be seen sporadically over a year to 18 months. Your Women's Health Physiotherapist will discuss a treatment plan with you at your first appointment.
If you are unsure if you require a women’s health assessment, please give us a call on 01302511755 and ask to speak to Kate. We will arrange a call back at a convenient time to suit you as we understand the delicate nature of the conversation.
*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.