Marney (@femalefocusedhealth) who is a women’s health physiotherapist shares a little bit about her job, what conditions you can cure/manage by doing this specific kind of physiotherapy and what an assessment looks like in practice. #expertadvice
Women’s Health Physiotherapy
What the hell is it?
Women’s Health Physiotherapy can include antenatal and postnatal care for women, issues with incontinence, return to exercise advice after childbirth, pelvic organ prolapse, bladder and bowel concerns, sexual pain through to management strategies for women suffering from Endometriosis. Women’s Health Physiotherapy assists women of all ages (from adolescents to post menopausal) to overcome a range of issues that may affect them through different stages of their life.
Honestly, most women are unaware of a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or Pelvic Physiotherapist. It is a branch of physiotherapy focused on the specific diagnosis, treatment and management of women’s health conditions. Women’s Health Physiotherapy requires further training beyond a degree in Physiotherapy.
Personally, I have a particular interest in pre-natal and post-natal conditions as well as helping women return to their desired level of exercise.
More specifically, what conditions does a Women’s Health Physiotherapist see?
Urinary control issues such as incontinence or poor bladder control
• This may include stress leakage with coughing, sneezing or jumping
• Urge leakage
• Difficulties emptying the bladder
Bowel incontinence and constipation
• Straining to toilet
• Urgency or reduced bowel control
Assessment of pelvic organ prolapse
Assessment of pelvic floor dysfunction
• This can include pelvic floor weakness or pelvic floor tightness
Musculoskeletal aches and pain during pregnancy
• Rib pain, back pain, carpel tunnel, pelvic pain and round ligament pain
• Perineal massage advice
• Abdominal separation (diastasis recti) and the role of exercise
• Feeding postures and repetitive strain issues
• Returning to exercise after birth
Assist with mastitis management
• This may include penetrative pain, orgasm pain or entrance pain
• Use of dilators
Management techniques for Endometriosis
What does a Women’s Health Physiotherapy assessment look like?
• Before any assessment can start, a physiotherapist will always GAIN CONSENT and listen carefully to your story
• Goals: This is the most important part of any consult – what are YOUR goals of seeking treatment?
Every women has a different goal, it might be painfree sex, exercise without urine leakage, improve quality of life by reducing prolapse symptoms or sleep through the night without pain
• History: A detailed story is important to get a complete understanding of all information from the pelvic floor to all other systems. These questions may include symptoms or pain you experience, bladder and bowel functioning, menstrual cycle or sexual activity
• Assessment: This can include assessing and objectively measuring your pelvic floor, breathing, bladder, abdominals, pelvis or musculoskeletal system for baseline measures. Often this can include an internal vaginal exam if deemed necessary
An internal vaginal exam can assess:
• Resting muscle tone
• Tissue integrity
• Healing of tissues or birth trauma
• Strength, endurance and co-ordination of the pelvic floor muscles
• Signs of pelvic organ prolapse
• Treatment: Based on your assessment and diagnosis, the treatment will be focused on your key areas to build on. This may include manual therapy (hands-on treatment), education, pelvic floor training or home exercises
MSK + Women’s Health Physiotherapist