Women have different health issues than men as a result of differences in biology, physiology and the impact bearing children has on both biology and physiology.
Women’s Health by definition is an umbrella term for addressing a spectrum of issues: reproductive health, sexual health, menstruation, maternal health, child birth (pre/post partum), prolapse, incontinence, sport related issues (i.e. leakage or injuries that lead to pelvic pain or pelvic instability (low back, groin etc.)), female cancers (i.e. breast), post surgical and bone health.
Every individual has a different story, despite possibly having the same impairment. Therefore, we place a huge emphasis during the assessment to ensure your story is heard and learn what has meaning to you. For example, you may tell us “I don’t run because I leak urine”. There can be many body regions (ankle, hip, pelvis, thorax, neck etc.) and many impairments in the nervous, muscular, fascial, visceral, and/or articular (joints) systems contributing to your problem and your story helps to understand the role that each body part and system plays in your current condition. Therefore, we must address the whole body when addressing Women Health issues, this is the Integrated Systems Model approach.
Pelvic Floor Examination
A combination of a whole body assessment, ultrasound imaging and possibly an internal examination is used to specifically assess and treat the pelvic floor. The internal examination helps us to understand the relationship of the behaviour of your pelvic floor to other noted impairments in your body. Yes, we may treat your foot or neck to help your pelvic floor work better!
To fully assess the pelvic floor locally, a visual and digital examination is required. The visual examination involves observing the external perineal structures as you contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. We look for any scarring or other structural abnormalities of the perineum that may be contributing to your problem. Internal examination is done through the vaginal or anal canal. This examination is essential to truly determine causative, and reactive, factors contributing to your pelvic pain or pelvic floor dysfunction (i.e. leakage, heaviness, scars, tears etc.).
If it is felt that your pelvic floor is reacting to impairments elsewhere in the body, the therapist may manually adjust (correct) another area of your body and assess the impact of this correction on the performance of your pelvic floor muscles. On occasion, a second physiotherapist (also trained in the Integrated Systems Model) may be present to do the correction leaving the pelvic floor physio to attend to the response of your pelvic floor. This whole body approach to the behavior of the pelvic floor is unique to the Integrated Systems Model approach for pelvic floor function and dysfunction.
The pelvic floor plays a huge role not only in continence and sexual function but also in function of the entire trunk for posture and movement. Its function is intimately related to your breathing diaphragm and the deepest abdominal transversus abdominis. Collectively, these muscles work as a unit and it is important to train them collaboratively. Additionally, this deep inner unit works synergistically with the longer, more superficial trunk muscles to provide movement and control of your thorax (chest), abdomen (including your low back) and pelvis. This is an intimate part of our body, critical to understand and essential to maintain in good health.
The time to take action and restore your pelvic health is NOW! The evidence clearly states that urinary incontinence that persists past the 12 week point post-partum will still be there at 5 years. Wearing diapers to be active is NOT the solution. Healthy aging requires an active lifestyle, don’t let your pelvic floor interfere with your goal to have an active lifestyle, we are here to help.
All of the practitioners listed on this page have experience in both the assessment and treatment of abdominal wall conditions related to Women’s Health. The following practitioners have extra training in the internal examination of the pelvic floor: Kjersti Malinsky, Leigh Fortuna, Adrienne Sim and Kelly Meddings.