Physiotherapists make your recovery sound far less daunting than hospital doctors and nurses. Physio is less scary because part of the profession allows you, the client, to be in charge and involved with your recovery. This treatment method is focused solely on restoring, maintaining, and helping you make the best of your body.
Another reason people – particularly women, may seek physio treatment is to treat incontinence problems. Following pregnancy at every step of its span, menopause, or needing help with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lower back pain, women can experience “leakage” during exercise, while coughing or sneezing, or laughing. Other women also struggle with pelvis pain, pelvic girdle pain, and issues with bowel movements. These problems can embarrass or diminish the most magical time of a woman’s life. If you’re worried about leaks, read on to discover what to expect from a visit to the pelvic floor physio…
Before the Appointment
When you’re ready to see your physio, make sure you’re giving them all the information to treat you properly. This information includes:
A bladder diary and questionnaire: Providing your physio with your fluid intake (what you drink) and fluid output (how often and how much you urinate) will help your physio diagnose or reassess your issue. A questionnaire entailing your sexual history and filling out differences to your bowels and bladder is a tool to mark your improvement.
Discussion points: Be honest with your physio and ask questions. Inform them of how long you have struggled with incontinence problems and whether or not it’s improved. Tell them if you have tried home remedies. Share if you have troubles with your bowel, bladder, sexual problems, prolapse, or a combination of all of these issues. Your physio will also need your medical history, including childbirth or any other medical operation.
Length of the Appointment
Usually, your doctor will allocate an hour for your first pelvic floor physio appointment. Follow-up appointments often range between 30 to 45 minutes.
During the Appointment
In addition to your answered questionnaire and bladder diary, your physio will go over previous talking points to gather more detail. Your physio will ask about what’s bothering you the most, what you do in your leisure time, and what you already know about your pelvic floor muscles and function. Checking for your understanding of the pelvic area will help you later during the examination.
Your physio will likely need to examine your pelvic floor muscles during your appointment. The examination is standard but not always necessary, and you can say no if you don’t feel comfortable. The review will involve:
An external examination of the genital area to check for infection, age-related changes, and prolapse, followed by a possible internal vaginal check. You may request a rectal exam if your main issues come from a large tear after childbirth or relate to bowel incontinence. Some physios also use real-time ultrasound to go over the pelvic floor muscles.
Your physio will suggest treatments based on your specific issues. The standard therapies given in pelvic floor physio include:
Prescribed pelvic floor exercises: They will suggest activities that build strength and improve your pelvic floor muscles.
Modifying your lifestyle: Your physio may recommend new exercises or reduce any heavy lifting you did before the incontinence began. The activities are often temporary until your control over incontinence grows.
Support pessary: Your physio may offer to fit you with a support pessary if prolapse significantly contributes to your incontinence. Your physio will discuss the support pessary with you.