Answer by Clare Pacey – Specialist Physiotherapist in Pelvic and Women’s Health
It can take a lot of confidence and courage to see a women’s health physiotherapist for the first time, therefore we wanted to give you an idea of what to expect to help reduce some of those anxiety levels.
When you first attend we will ask questions about your bladder health, bowel health, vaginal health and sexual Heath. We will want to know why you have come to see us – what your concerns are and your goals. We will spend some time talking through everything and may start providing education and tips to improve things before we do anything physical.
We would then look at your posture, breathing, abdominals, back and pelvis and complete a vaginal examination. We do not use a speculum for this – one single finger is used, gloved with lots of lubrication. Pelvic physios are very skilled in feeling the muscles. Physio should never be a painful process. It should be comfortable. During the internal examination we would assess the pelvic floor muscles – their strength, coordination, mobility. We would assess general tissue health and check for prolapse. We don’t have to do an internal examination – we can still start treatment without it, it just gives a better idea of mechanically what is going on with the pelvis and the muscles and how we can work together to get you better.
After the assessment the physio will summarise your findings and give you tailored advice and exercises based on your specific goals. Antenatally ensuring you are feeling strong and prepared for motherhood and postnatally to begin rehab and optimise your recovery. Women report finding this process extremely useful in having an improved understanding of this area of their body and it is something we recommend to all women.