While physiotherapy is generally associated with treating sportspeople and their injuries and pain, there are some distinct ways it is beneficial for women.
Throughout their lives, changes in a woman's musculoskeletal and hormonal makeup can significantly impact a woman's daily life.
As we age and change, we all deserve a good quality of life and ability to go about our daily tasks with reasonable ease.
Women can seek treatment from a physiotherapist for, or relating to:
- Ante-natal and pregnancy issues
- Post-natal care
- Returning to exercise post-pregnancy
- Abdominal muscle separation
- General pelvic health
- Bladder incontinence
- Bowel dysfunction
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Pelvic floor disorders
- Pain during sex and sexual health
- Back pain
- Post-surgery recovery
- Joint and connective tissue diseases (JCTD)
- Neurological diseases
These are some of the common conditions and issues physiotherapy can treat to improve your pelvic health.
The importance of pelvic health
Our pelvic muscles support many of our daily functions, including several vital organs.
Located between your lower abdomen and legs, your pelvic floor is made up of the pelvic bone, muscles and tissue which support the bladder, bowel, intestines, uterus, and ovaries.
For some women, it can feel difficult to talk about discomfort they are experiencing in that area.
As a result, women can miss out on a remedy for a treatable (temporary or chronic) issue.
Pelvic pain or discomfort can often be treated and isn't just 'part of being a woman' or should be accepted because they have had a baby.
Pelvic conditions or disorders are treatable, regardless of your age.
A stronger pelvic floor means your organs are better supported, better pain management and improved control of your bodily functions.
Seeking treatment from a physiotherapist can help improve your quality of life.
There are many ways to assess your pelvic floor muscles, but most of them involve one of the following:
- Visualisation – viewing the vulva (outside genitalia) and looking at basic pelvic floor contraction and relaxation
- External palpation – palpating the pelvic floor through your clothes and getting an idea of which muscles you are using. This won’t assess specific pelvic floor muscle function.
- Internal examination – the most accurate way to assess your pelvic floor muscles to determine strength, endurance, contraction, and relaxation. This is the only way to assess for prolapse.
Physiotherapists can use a combination of treatment techniques to help resolve your symptoms, including but not limited to manual therapy, exercise plans, Pilates, education, and lifestyle changes.
Undertaking these will help you work towards recovery and getting back to doing the things you want to do.
To find out more about the benefits physiotherapy for pelvic health, reach out to APM’s physiotherapy team to book a consultation.