Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Women’s Health Physiotherapy- What is it?

Women’s health physiotherapy refers to any physiotherapy conditions affecting the women such as pregnancy and gynecology issues.

Common conditions treated by a Women’s health physiotherapist include:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Bladder and Bowel Issues
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapses
  • Treatment of Pelvic Floor
  • Pregnancy related Musculoskeletal and Outpatient conditions
  • Exercise in Pregnancy

Depending on what condition you are coming in for may vary in the timeframe of when you actually need to see a women’s health physio. For example if it is pregnancy related, pregnant ladies tend to get back pain which we can help with through manual therapy, massage and taping techniques. We can also provide you with tips or modifications to make it easier on your body and give you some stretches or exercises that you can practice at home. Postnatally some of the common musculoskeletal issues women have are neck, back or wrists pain due to breast feeding and carrying your baby. If these areas of your body are impacting your life or even the ability to care for your newborn, be sure to see someone as soon as possible.  As well as the musculoskeletal issues your body is going through, many women make an appointment 6 weeks postnatally which coincides with your gynecology appointment.  The reason being is that there have been changes to your body and pelvic floor area which we can assess and treat.

If you are concerned or having issues with urinary incontinence, coming to see your physio is a great place to start. We will take a thorough subjective history and possibly get you to fill out a questionnaire to better understand what is actually going on and get to the source of why you are experiencing the symptoms you may be having.  Once we have identified what may be the possible cause of your issue, further physical assessment may be necessary to provide the best outcome measures and treatment.

This is when your women’s health physio may or may not suggest that an internal exam be useful to get further information on what is going on. Most times an internal exam is used to assess for prolapses and your pelvic floor strength.  It is an important part of the consultation as we need to know how to individualize and prescribe the correct exercises if there are any signs of prolapse or weakness of the pelvic floor. The internal exam is not as bad as it sounds as we will try to make you feel as comfortable as you can. If you have any further questions you can always speak to your physiotherapist so they can explain the internal exam in further detail to put your mind at ease.

There are many issues as stated above that can affect women’s day to day lifestyle and can be quite distressing. Just remember you are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence. So whether you want to learn and get a better understanding of your problem or learn how to safely return to exercise postpartum, know that there are treatment techniques to help. You can start by visiting your local GP or you can just phone and make an appointment as you do not need a referral to see a women’s health physiotherapist.

Common conditions treated by a Women’s health physiotherapist include:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Bladder and Bowel Issues
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapses
  • Treatment of Pelvic Floor
  • Pregnancy related Musculoskeletal and Outpatient conditions
  • Exercise in Pregnancy

Urinary Incontinence Symptoms may include:

  • leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh
  • rushing to the toilet with a strong urge to urinate
  • not making it to the toilet in time and leaking
  • sensations that you have not emptied your bladder fully
  • frequently going to the toilet
  • disrupted sleep by having to use the toilet at night
  • difficulty starting to urinate or having to strain to empty your bladder

Issues with the bowels may include symptoms such as:

  • faecal soiling with activity or on the way to the toilet
  • rushing to the toilet to pass a bowel movement with an overpowering urge to go
  • having to strain to empty your bowels
  • accidently passing wind
  • feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bowel

Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms may include:

  • a heavy, dragging feeling in your vagina
  • a bulge at the opening of your vagina
  • unable to exercise due to the heavy, dropping sensations
  • discomfort with long periods of standing
  • difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel
  • concerns about having intercourse
  • Low back pain

Issues with your pelvic floor may include symptoms such as:

  • leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise
  • rushing to the toilet with an overwhelming urge to go
  • frequently going to the toilet
  • interrupted sleep by needing to use the toilet
  • trouble controlling your bowel and passing wind
  • painful intercourse
  • a feeling of heaviness, dragging or bulge in your vagina
  • difficulty emptying you bladder or bowel

Pregnancy related musculoskeletal conditions may include:

  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • pelvic pain
  • wrist pain
  • transient osteoporosis
  • tendonitis

Pregnancy causes hormonal and physiological changes on a woman’s body that can lead to weight gain, joint laxity and varied biomechanics which all can be factors to cause musculoskeletal pain and injuries. During pregnancy the body goes through changes such as widening of the pelvic joints, increased lumbar lordosis, gait changes, compression of peripheral anatomy and abnormal weight distribution make pregnant women more prone to these types of pains and conditions.