One in three women has a form of pelvic dysfunction that affects her quality of life. A weakened pelvic floor can result in urinary leakage, constipation and painful intercourse. Sometimes pelvic floor issues emerge pre- or post-partum; they can become more common as women age. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can significantly reduce these symptoms, resulting in a much improved quality of life, and in some cases can help a patient avoid surgery.
The term “pelvic floor” describes a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, and rectum), and encompass the urethra, rectum, and vagina. These muscles span from the pubic bones to the tailbone, like a hammock. If these muscles are too tight, weakened, injured (or a combination of all the above), it can result in incontinence, or difficulty with bowel function, and/or sexual function.
Our primary objectives during your first visit will be to identify the structures that are causing your symptoms, and to ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment approach and relaxed during assessment.
Your first appointment will be 60 minutes long and have two components:
First, your therapist will take a comprehensive history of your current issue(s). She will ask questions about past injuries/traumas, bowel and bladder habits, diet, exercise, and your gynecological history.
This will be followed by a physical assessment of the structures in your pelvic floor as well as your lower quadrant (e.g. low back, hips). This is an external exam of the abdomen, thighs, and the vagina. An internal exam will then be conducted of the vagina and the rectum. The internal exam focuses on assessing muscle tone, muscle strength, trigger points, and overall tissue health. No speculum is used during the internal exam.
We will do all we can to make sure that you are comfortable with the care you are receiving. All appointments are conducted in a private treatment room with a female physiotherapist. All appointments are one-on-one.
You will always have the right to refuse an internal exam or treatment at any time, whether during the initial assessment or a subsequent appointment. Other treatment and assessment options may still be available to you.
During your care, your therapist will build your understanding of the structures that are contributing to your symptoms and explain treatment options. She will create a personalized treatment plan and prescribe take home exercises to improve your recovery. Often manual therapy (hands on techniques used to decrease pain and improve tissue healing) will be used during the initial assessment and in the majority of your subsequent appointments.