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Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

January 29, 2020

 

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, nerves, ligaments and tissues found at the bottom of your pelvis. It is in charge of supporting the pelvic organs, such as the bladder and bowel. These muscles aid in urinary control, continence and sexual function.

A dysfunction within the pelvic floor musculature can cause symptoms such as incontinence, urgency, frequency and pelvic organ prolapse. Common risk factors for pelvic floor dysfunction include: pregnancy, aging, menopause, chronic constipation, gynecological or urinary surgeries.

So when should I see a pelvic floor physiotherapist treat?

Urinary and/or fecal incontinence

Do you experience leakage…

  • When you cough/sneeze?
  • When you laugh?
  • When you lift something heavy?
  • When you exercise, such as jumping or running?

Does this sound familiar?

  • I have a small bladder and I pee frequently, sometimes every hour!
  • I’m afraid I won’t make it to the washroom on time
  • I wake up multiple times a night to go to the washroom
  • I often scour a public place for a washroom as soon as I arrive 

Incontinence is the loss of bladder or bowel control at the wrong time or place. There are many misconceptions surrounding incontinence, such as it’s normal after childbirth or a normal part of aging. However, this is not a normal consequence of life and not something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Pelvic floor physiotherapy has been proven to help manage symptoms of urinary incontinence by assessing and treating imbalances in the pelvic floor muscles, without the need for surgery. 

Pelvic organ prolapse 

  1. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when when your pelvic organs, such as your bladder, uterus or rectum lose support and push against the walls of the vagina. This can be due to weakness in the pelvic floor musculature. Symptoms may include a feeling of pressure or heaviness in your vagina. You may also be able to feel or see a lump in your vagina, or feel the sense that something is ‘falling out’. You can have difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel completely when you go to the bathroom as well as symptoms of incontinence. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help you manage these symptoms, by increasing support and and prevent progression of further slippage. 

Pregnancy 

During pregnancy, the body undergoes many physical and hormonal changes in a short period of time. These changes can cause problems such as: 

  • Back pain
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Hip pain
  • Incontinence
  • Rectus diastasis
  • Difficulty with exercising due to pain 

Physiotherapy can help prepare the mind and body through each stage of pregnancy. This can help speed recovery and avoid core or pelvic health issues postpartum. Our physiotherapist will work with you and provide you with the pelvic floor therapy and exercises you need to prevent incontinence and be pain-free during and after your pregnancy. 

What can I expect during my first visit?

Every initial assessment takes 60 minutes, allowing enough time for a thorough medical history taking where specific questions about your concerns will be addressed. A physical examination will then follow, which may include your posture, back, hips, abdominals and breathing pattern. If you are comfortable, an internal vaginal and/or rectal examination will follow to specifically evaluate the tone, strength and function of the pelvic floor musculature. Every assessment is done in a private room for your comfort. Following the assessment, the findings of the exam will be discussed and an individualized treatment plan will be created.



Josée Bélanger,
Registered Physiotherapist