What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Pelvic health physiotherapy is a specialized area of physical therapy that focuses on the assessment and treatment of various conditions affecting the pelvic floor and surrounding areas like low back, hips and abdominal region. From urinary incontinence and pelvic pain to postpartum recovery and pelvic floor dysfunction, our skilled physiotherapists are here to work with clients to meet their unique individual goals using an evidence-based approach to treatment.

Our Physiotherapists work through a comprehensive assessment of each individual client.  We use assessment skills that build from a strong orthopaedic foundation and then add to this approach a full assessment of the pelvic floor.  Through this full assessment, we can determine the underlying causes of pelvic health issues.  While each client’s treatment plan is unique, they often use soft tissue techniques like local massage, stretching and mobilizations, specific exercises, and equally important education or knowledge. Whether you’re seeking preventive care or seeking relief from specific symptoms, our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and tools to optimize your pelvic health and improve your overall quality of life.

Trust our experienced team to guide you on your journey towards enhanced well-being and restored pelvic function.

Conditions commonly Treated by Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

Pelvic health physiotherapy is designed to address a wide range of conditions related to the pelvic region. Some of the common conditions treated by GWHA pelvic health physiotherapists include:

Urinary Incontinence: Pelvic health physiotherapy can help individuals experiencing involuntary leakage of urine, whether it’s B (leakage during physical activities), B (strong and sudden urge to urinate), or mixed incontinence (a combination of both).

Pelvic Pain: Physiotherapy can provide relief for various types of pelvic pain, such as pelvic floor muscle tension, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, vulvodynia (pain in the vulva area), and dyspareunia (painful intercourse).

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (P.O.P): This includes the descent of pelvic organs, like either the uterus, bladder or rectum

Pelvic Floor Weakness: The pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscle.  They have strength an optimal length.  If a muscle is too tight, it is often weak (and painful).  But if the muscle is too long or stretched, it can also be weak.  Often traditional strengthening like the “kegel” are not effective because they are trying to strengthen a muscle that is too “tight” or short.  A better approach to “strengthening” a tight or short muscle is to work on restoring its length first.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Issues: Pelvic health physiotherapy can assist women during and after pregnancy, addressing concerns such as labour and birth preparation, diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), pelvic girdle pain, and postpartum recovery of the pelvic floor muscles.

Pre and Post-Surgical Rehabilitation: Pelvic health physiotherapy plays a crucial role in preparing individuals for pelvic surgeries (e.g., prolapse, “bladder lifts”, hysterectomy, prostatectomy) and aiding in their recovery afterward, helping to regain strength, flexibility, and optimal function.

Bowel Dysfunction: Pelvic health physiotherapy can also help individuals with conditions like fecal incontinence, chronic constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

By seeking the expertise of a GWHA pelvic health physiotherapist, individuals can receive personalized care and specialized techniques to effectively manage and improve their pelvic health.

Conditions Addressed by Pelvic Health Physio

  • Menopause
  • Pre- & Post-Surgical  Rehab

What is the Role of a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist?

The role of a pelvic health physiotherapist is to assess, diagnose, and treat conditions related to the pelvic region, with a focus on optimizing pelvic health and function.   In Ontario, a physiotherapist needs to be “rostered” by the College of Physiotherapists in order to conduct any internal pelvic floor assessment or treatment.  It is important to recognize the additional courses and knowledge that are necessary.  Always ensure you are working with a Registered Physiotherapist that has been Rostered as a Pelvic Physiotherapist with their licensing board.

Here are some key aspects of their role:

  1. Assessment: Pelvic health physiotherapists conduct thorough assessments to understand the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and functional limitations. They may use various assessment techniques, such as internal and external pelvic examinations, to evaluate pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, and coordination.
  2. Diagnosis and Treatment Planning: Based on the assessment findings, pelvic health physiotherapists diagnose the underlying causes of the patient’s condition and develop personalized treatment plans to help each individual client meet their individual goals. These plans may include a combination of manual therapy techniques, exercises, lifestyle modifications, and education.
  3. Therapeutic Techniques: Pelvic health physiotherapists utilize a range of therapeutic techniques to address pelvic health issues. These may include manual therapy techniques like soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy to release tension and improve muscle function.
  4. Pelvic Floor Exercises: Pelvic health physiotherapists teach patients specific exercises to strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles, depending on the individual’s needs. They provide guidance on proper technique, frequency, and progression of exercises to achieve optimal results.
  5. Education and Lifestyle Modifications: Pelvic health physiotherapists educate patients about their condition, providing information on anatomy, pelvic health hygiene, and strategies to manage symptoms. They may also offer guidance on lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, bladder and bowel habits, and postural adjustments, to support pelvic health.
  6. Postoperative Rehabilitation: For individuals who have undergone pelvic surgeries, such as prolapse, “bladder lifts”, hysterectomy or prostatectomy, pelvic health physiotherapists play a crucial role in their postoperative rehabilitation. They help restore strength, flexibility, and function in the pelvic region, aiding in a smooth recovery. Many studies have shown that clients that participate in “PREHAB”, or physiotherapy before surgery have better surgical outcomes.
  7. Support and Empowerment: Pelvic health physiotherapists offer emotional support and create a safe space for patients to discuss their concerns. They empower individuals by providing knowledge and tools to actively participate in their own pelvic health management.

Overall, the role of a pelvic health physiotherapist is to provide comprehensive care, improve quality of life, and empower individuals to achieve optimal pelvic health and function.