In the past, women’s health physiotherapy meant obstetrics or care during pregnancy. Thankfully, now women’s health physiotherapy is branching out. These days, this speciality treats various conditions relating to the pelvic floor, vagina, bladder, and bowel. Conditions like vaginismus, painful bladder syndrome, and even vulvodynia are now in focus. But why should you go to a women’s health physiotherapist? How do you know when something is a problem, and how can you tell when it is relevant to women’s health physiotherapy? Let’s take a look at some of the issues a women’s health physiotherapist treats and what you can expect when you visit one:
When should I visit a women’s health physiotherapist?
A women’s health physiotherapist can treat and advise you on loads of conditions and symptoms relating to your body, movement, pregnancy, sex, and even general health. No complaint is ever too minor or irrelevant. Here are a few of the things we can help with:
Pain during sex
Whether from a physical condition or an infection, experiencing pain during sex is never normal. If you experience pain during sex, a women’s health physiotherapist can help pinpoint the cause and advise on treatment.
Constipation and wind
If you deal with constipation or have wind, did you know there is a myriad of potential causes? If you have either of these problems, a women’s health physiotherapist can do much for you.
Urinary and faecal incontinence
Various issues could lead to both urinary and faecal incontinence. Whether you can’t hold on to reach the toilet in time or leak urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing, or jumping, a women’s health physiotherapist can assist you with many urinary issues. Whether it’s loss of control of bowel movements or you struggle with leaking, we can help you.
We know how much of a toll menopause can take on the body. Whether it’s aches and pains or something else, women’s health physiotherapy can go a long way in helping you manage and get relief from menopause pain.
Pelvic organ prolapse
Do you experience a feeling of heaviness or bulging from your vagina? If so, this could be a sign of pelvic organ prolapse. If this is your concern, a women’s health physiotherapist can professionally assess the prolapse or symptoms.
Pregnancy and postnatal rehabilitation
Though there is a growing emphasis on other areas of women’s health, a women’s physiotherapist can still help with pregnancy and postnatal problems! Whether you’re dealing with the so-called “tummy gap” or Diastasis Rectus, or you suffer from other pregnancy-related pain or discomfort, our women’s health physiotherapists can offer plenty of advice on what’s best to do to feel better at any stage.
Pain occurs in many forms, and women’s health physiotherapists can advise and help you with numerous pain problems. From musculoskeletal or postural lower back, pelvis, or hip pain, pregnancy-related or not, we can help you. In addition, PGP, bladder pain syndrome, endometriosis, or interstitial cystitis come under a women’s health physiotherapist’s remit. We also offer pain relief management treatment.
What kind of treatment will I get from a women’s health physiotherapist?
Depending on your women’s health physiotherapist’s assessment, your personalised treatment plan will look different. For example, you could require exercises to strengthen or rebuild muscles in areas like your pelvis and lower limbs. Or, manual therapy may be the thing to let go of tension in your soft tissues and increase your joint mobility. We could look at ways to improve your symptoms through diet, lifestyle, or hydration.
You may need to look at your diaphragmatic breathing or relax the muscles in your lower limbs or pelvis with plenty of stretches. We might recommend acupuncture or pelvic floor muscle training as your best treatment. We won’t know what the suitable options are until we make an assessment.
What will you get out of visiting a women’s health physiotherapist?
You’ll leave your first visit to a women’s health physiotherapist feeling refreshed and better than when you went in! We will establish what treatment you need and signpost you to the suitable therapies.
What will happen during your first visit to a women’s health physiotherapist?
When you visit a women’s health physiotherapist, you can expect them to ask particular questions about your symptoms and what could be causing them. Depending on your symptoms, you will be offered different forms of examination. For example, you might have an ultrasound to scan your pelvic muscles or a vaginal investigation to find out more. The examination could also just be some light pressure or the insertion of a gloved finger. Whatever your physiotherapist decides is necessary, they will tell you precisely what is going on and walk you through the examination at every step.
You may even receive some treatment once we’re sure what to do.
Who should see a women’s health physiotherapist?
Anyone with a health concern relating to women’s health is welcome to make an appointment with a women’s health physiotherapist. You don’t need to be pregnant or have a preexisting condition to need to visit. Here are a few people who may benefit from seeing their women’s health physiotherapist:
Someone with pain in the pelvic area
If you experience pain anywhere in your pelvic area, visiting your women’s health physiotherapist could benefit you. Pelvic pain could be anything from pain during intercourse or using a tampon to endometriosis pain, bladder pain, or even pudendal nerve pain – nerve pain that you feel in the perineum, lower buttocks, genitals, anus, or rectum. Pelvic physiotherapy is a highly successful treatment method for these conditions, but we recommend visiting your GP before you book with us.
Someone with pelvic organ prolapse symptoms
Pelvic organ prolapse causes feelings like heaviness and bulging or feeling like there is a lump in your vagina. You may feel like you cannot empty your bowel or could find it difficult to use tampons. Pelvic organ prolapse means that your bowel, uterus, or bladder has descended somewhat into your vaginal space. Your women’s health physiotherapist will prescribe a pelvic floor exercise program and may pair this program with other helpful therapies.
Someone with bowel control problems
A women’s health physiotherapist can help with bowel control symptoms, no matter how slight or severe. So whether you’re someone who experiences a sudden urgent need to go, struggles with “wind”, has bowel accidents, strains to empty your bowels, or has a feeling of incomplete emptying – women’s health physiotherapy could help you either way. Again, pelvic floor exercises are the standard therapy for bowel control symptoms. But, of course, you should get in touch with your GP first for bowel pain, bleeding, or a sudden change in bowel habits.
Someone with bladder control problems
Whether it’s bladder leakage when your body experiences downward pressure as you run, sneeze, or cough, having an urgent need to run to the bathroom and potentially not making it in time, or even a combination of these symptoms, women’s health physiotherapy can help. In this situation, specific pelvic floor exercises and other therapies would be the typical choice.
Someone who has recently given birth
When you’re pregnant, your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are vulnerable. During the pregnancy, the growing baby’s weight can mean bladder leakage symptoms. On top of this, vaginal delivery can make problems later on more likely. Also, abdominal separation is a risk. That’s why women’s health physiotherapists offer postnatal assessments. We can check your pelvic floor and abdominal recovery, offer exercise advice for your specific symptoms, and even help you safely return to general exercise.