What is Pelvic health physiotherapy?
Pelvic health physiotherapy is an umbrella term for physiotherapy that addresses aspects of anatomy and physiology related to or contained in the pelvis. This includes pelvic floor physiotherapy (the pelvic floor is the area between your legs, including your genitals, muscles, connective tissue and pelvic organs), which is an area of physiotherapy requiring specialized training.
Common conditions treated include: *note this list is not exclusive and you are welcome to call the clinic to discuss if we are able to meet your individual needs
- pre/post partum care
- urinary incontinence (stress or urge)
- fecal or gas incontinence
- genitourinary symptoms of menopause
- overactive bladder, bladder pain, interstitial cystitis
- painful periods
- pain during intercourse
- pelvic pain
- gynecological cancer
- pre/post surgery. Common surgeries include hysterectomy, prolapse repair, incontinence, radical prostatectomy/prostate surgery, and there are many others we are able to help manage as well.
- sexual dysfunction (erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory pain)
- testicular or penile pain
- osteitis pubis, adductor sprains/strains and groin pain
- persistent low back and hip pain
How to start
Call the clinic and our front desk staff will schedule you with a physiotherapist suited to you.
50% of males with symptoms of pelvic pain or dysfunction do not seek medical attention because of fear of the symptoms getting worse, embarrassment, and/or interruption to daily activities (Dorey, 2006).
Listen to Calvin explain our philosophy for male Pelvic Health in the video below.
What to Expect at Your First Session
Telling Your Story is Important
A pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment begins much like any other physiotherapy assessment, that is, hearing your story. This will include a review of:
- your description of your symptoms and concerns,
- medical and surgical history,
- functional abilities (and limitations),
- stress, anxiety and other psychological, social and emotional issues.
Specific questions pertaining to your bladder, bowel, organs, abdomen or genital function may be asked depending on your issues. These may include questions about:
- bladder habits,
- bowel habits,
- pain with voiding, defecating or intercourse,
- leakage of urine or stool,
These are very personal and sensitive questions for most, rest assured that your comfort and consent are of the utmost importance.
The Physical Examination
The physical examination includes a whole body assessment using the Integrated Systems Model. The assessment will aim to find the drivers (underlying causes) for pelvic pain and dysfunction to determine where to focus treatment. Typically, a postural assessment is done and muscle function is assessed. Pelvic muscle function (or dysfunction) can be assessed in a variety of ways which can include:
- observation of the abdominal wall and/or perineum,
- real-time ultrasound of the abdominal wall and/or perineum, and
- digital vaginal and/or rectal examination of the perineum.
One, or a combination of these assessment methods, may be used during your assessment. The methods used are always based on your comfort and consent. Your physiotherapist will discuss all options with you during your assessment.
Take Home Message
You should expect to come away from the assessment with some knowledge of your condition and a treatment plan. If time permits in this first session, you will be shown techniques to use at home for symptom reduction as well as ideas for improving your posture and muscle strategies.
Subsequent treatment will address all the deficits found in this initial assessment with the aim being to provide you with the knowledge and tools to improve your musculoskeletal, urological and/or sexual function. Should you need, physiotherapists often work closely with urologists, physiatrists, colorectal surgeons, family doctors, sexual health therapists and psychological counsellors in order to create a comprehensive treatment plan to restore health.