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Carolane Chevrier Registered Physiotherapist

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Gloria Lanie Cheung Registered Physiotherapist

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Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy– what is it?

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is an approach in physiotherapy that aims to restore pelvic floor functions. The pelvic floor muscles are a hammock-shaped group of muscles located at the base of your pelvis. They play a role for continence (of urine, gas and feces), for the support of the abdominal content (i.e. organs such as bladder, uterus, rectum), for trunk stability (core) and for sexual function.

Just like any other muscles, if weakened, lacking stamina, tensed up or uncoordinated, the pelvic floor becomes less effective and this can lead to various problems.

A Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist is a physiotherapist who has specific knowledge and training in treating pelvic floor dysfunctions. Here are the common situations that a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you with:

  • Pregnancy: perinatal care (to optimize pelvic floor function prior to giving birth, to help with discomforts and aches during pregnancy) and postnatal (to check the status of the healing, to recruit your pelvic floor and core muscles prior to returning to physical activity)
  • Stress urinary incontinence (unintentional loss of urine at activity or at impact that puts pressure on the bladder)
  • Urgencies urinary incontinence (unintentional loss of urine due to a sudden and strong need to urinate)
  • Overactive bladder (frequent feeling of having to urinate)
  • Nocturia (frequent feeling of having to urinate, at nighttime)
  • Fecal incontinence (unintentional loss of feces or gas)
  • Menopause
  • Prolapses (organ protrusion through the vagina or rectum)
  • Dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse or other activities that involve penetration)
  • Painful scars (pain occurring after surgery (i.e. episiotomy repair, or C-Section)
  • Diastasis recti (separation of the superficial abdominal muscles)
  • Pelvic girdle pain (pain in the pelvic girdle area, i.e. sacro-iliac joint pain (SI joint pain), coccyx (coccydynia), pubic symphysis pain, ect.)

What to expect from a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy session?

You don’t need to have a doctor’s referral to see a physiotherapist. The initial assessment is usually a 60-min appointment where your physiotherapist will take a full history of your bladder, bowel, sexual function, and medical, obstetrical and surgical history, as well as your goals. They will then proceed to an external and internal assessment. The internal assessment is a digit assessment where the physiotherapist uses their gloved and lubed fingers (usually one or two) to feel your pelvic floor muscles. After that, a discussion regarding the findings of the assessment and the treatment plan will be held between the patient and the physiotherapist.