A women’s health physio is a trained physio who can help with a variety of conditions throughout the lifespan; from adolescent incontinence or pelvic pain, to pregnancy, post-pregnancy and into menopause. We perform a comprehensive assessment to obtain an understanding of the whole picture. Depending on the assessment, treatment will include education and management strategies, manual therapy (massage, ultrasound, etc.) and exercise prescription.  

Conditions that Women’s Health Physios treat include: 

  • Pregnancy-related low back and pelvic girdle pain
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction: incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, urgency, constipation 
  • Postnatal check: pelvic floor assessment, perineal tear/episiotomy management, exercise prescription 
  • Mastitis 
  • Pelvic pain: overactive pelvic floor 
  • Pain with sexual intercourse 
  • Endometriosis 
  • Menopause 

What is the pelvic floor? 

The pelvic floor is a muscular hammock that runs from your pubic bone to your tailbone. It does NOT include your glutes, abdominal or inner thigh muscles. 

The pelvic floor muscles:

  • Help keep us continent by squeezing around our passageways (urethra, vagina and anus)
  • Help hold in urine and faeces 
  • Play a role in sexual function and sensation 

There are two types of muscular fibres of the pelvic floor. Fast twitch fibres are needed for quick contractions for when we sneeze, cough or laugh, and slow twitch fibres are needed for long holds for going to the toilet and when exercising. 

What is an internal assessment?

A women’s health physiotherapist is trained to perform an internal vaginal assessment. The physiotherapist will assess the internal structures of the pelvis including pelvic floor muscles, deep hip muscles and the position of pelvic organs. The physiotherapist will assess the function of the pelvic floor, ie. Can it contract and how strongly can it contract? Can it hold for 60-120 seconds? Can it relax? Internal assessments will never be performed without your consent. Internal assessments can assist with treatment, however, other treatment and assessment options are available.

Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? 

Absolutely!

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) recommends exercise during pregnancy (without contra-indications). It is recommended that women participate in regular aerobic and strength conditioning exercises on all or most days of the week. 

What role do physiotherapists play in exercise during pregnancy?

Physiotherapists play an extremely important role during pregnancy. Physiotherapists can: 

  • Offer education and advice regarding physical activity and exercise during pregnancy 
  • Provide pregnancy-specific exercise classes
  • Prescribe an exercise plan specific to your needs
  • Monitor women experiencing high-risk pregnancies
  • Assess and treat any musculoskeletal aches and pains 
  • Assess and treat pelvic floor dysfunction and perform a thorough pelvic floor assessment to ensure a positive birth experience  

What are some common (but not normal) experiences during pregnancy or postpartum?

  • Feelings of pelvic organ prolapse: a ‘heaviness sensation’ or bulging feeling in the vagina. It may feel difficult to insert a tampon.
  • Leaking whilst running, coughing or sneezing, or rushing to the toilet.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.

It is important to remember that experiencing any of the above is common, but not considered normal. Seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist will assist in managing and treating these problems.

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or would like to have a chat, contact our Women’s Health Physiotherapist Hannah at Total Physiotherapy.

Ph: (02) 8322 3898

Email: reception@totalphysiosydney.com.au

Address: 228C Clovelly Rd, Coogee NSW 2034