Our women’s and pelvic health physiotherapists treat a wide variety of patients with bladder, bowel and sexual problems. We specialise in patients (women and men) with pelvic floor dysfunction. We also treat patients who are pregnant, and our goal is to reduce pain and keep women fit and active throughout pregnancy.
Physiotherapy during pregnancy
Women’s health physiotherapists offer antenatal and exercise classes for pregnant women. The chief goal is to prevent common problems experienced by pregnant women and prepare them physically and mentally for birth. Pelvic floor training is an important component of training during pregnancy. Physiotherapy can also help in the postnatal period, with pain relief and return to exercise.
Physiotherapy for pregnancy-related pelvic pain
Many pregnant women experience pain in their lower back and pelvis. Physiotherapy treatment for this group of women consists of posture correction, stretching of tight muscles, massage, gentle core exercises, manual therapy and relaxation techniques.
Physiotherapy for pelvic and abdominal pain
Pelvic pain can be caused by many things and is often associated with tight muscles around the pelvis or the pelvic floor. This problem can be addressed with a special training programme, relaxation, breathing exercises, myofascial release and trigger point massage. Both female and male patients can present with sexual problems and pain during intercourse. The physiotherapist will, if possible, examine the pelvic floor and use manual techniques to stretch and relax the tight muscles.
Physiotherapy for urine incontinence
One in three women will experience urinary incontinence at some point in their life.
There are various reasons why women are at risk, including pregnancy and childbirth, constipation, chronic cough, being overweight and living a generally sedentary lifestyle. The physiotherapist will give advice as well as instruct and guide a programme of pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy for bowel symptoms
Physiotherapy can also be effective in treating bowel symptoms such as faecal urgency, faecal incontinence, leakage of gas/wind and constipation. Lifestyle advice, including good bowel habits, stress management, gentle exercise, relaxation and guided pelvic floor rehabilitation may help manage symptoms.
The physiotherapist’s examination of the pelvic floor
All patients with pelvic floor problems are informed about the anatomy of the pelvic floor and its functions. Patients are asked to give their consent and once this is gained they will be examined both externally and internally, either vaginally or rectally.
The physiotherapist examines the pelvic floor in order to be able to
- Determine the muscle strength and endurance, co-ordination and injuries of the muscles
- Determine the tone of the muscles
- Plan a training programme tailored to the individual patient
- Evaluate the effect of the training
The pelvic floor examination should not be painful and the physiotherapist will explain each step.