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Blog | PelviCare

What Happens at a Pelvic Floor Physio Appointment?

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, and tissue and is located in the lower pelvis. Together with the abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor forms part of the 'core'. In particular, it plays a crucial role in supporting organs like the bladder, uterus and rectum. 

However, these muscles can become weak or damaged by factors like pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, obesity or certain medical conditions. In fact, the pelvic floor is likely to be affected by aging as well. 

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a specialized branch of physiotherapy that focuses on assessing and treating issues related to the pelvic floor muscles. Because the role of the abdominal muscles is closely linked to the pelvic floor, a pelvic floor physiotherapist will also work on this area.

This type of therapy aims to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and overall function.

Women's health physiotherapist providing pelvic floor physiotherapy in Southeast London.

Common Issues Affecting the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a critical part of your core stability, and it can be affected by natural life experiences. For that reason, many people experience problems with their pelvic floor health. Here are some of the most common ways pelvic floor dysfunction is manifested:

 1. Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to involuntary urine leakage due to weakened or dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles. Exploring lifestyle modifications and targeted exercises can effectively manage urinary incontinence. 

2. Anal Incontinence

This type of incontinence involves leakage of stool (faeces) or difficulty with controlling wind as well as urge during physical activity. It may be caused by muscle weakness around the anus (back passage) following perineal tear, for example. 

3. Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more organs—such as the bladder or uterus—descend from their normal position into the vagina due to weakened pelvic floor support. Factors like pregnancy and childbirth contribute significantly to this condition. Strategies for managing prolapse include exercises and using support devices, like pessaries, under medical guidance. 

4. Constipation

Chronic constipation is another common problem that can be caused by pelvic floor dysfunction. Difficulty passing stools can lead to discomfort and straining during bowel movements. Proper hydration levels along with dietary fibre intake adjustments are key preventive measures here; however physiotherapy techniques can help restore proper muscle coordination. 

5. Sexual Dysfunction

Pelvic floor muscle weakness or excess tension can result in sexual dysfunction including pain during sex or decreased sexual satisfaction for both men and women alike. Seeking professional guidance is essential for identifying the causes and making a treatment plan. 

6. Pelvic Pain

Conditions like chronic pelvic pain or vulvodynia can cause persistent pain in the pelvic region affecting daily life significantly. Multidisciplinary approaches involving physiotherapy, medication management and stress reduction techniques can help alleviate pelvic pain.

Preparing for a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Appointment

If you have scheduled an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist, congratulations on taking a proactive step towards your health and wellbeing! To make the most out of your session, it's a good idea to come prepared.

Young woman writing a list of questions before a pelvic floor physio appointment.

Gather Information

Before your appointment, collect any relevant medical records such as previous diagnoses, surgeries, or treatments related to your condition. This information will give your therapist valuable insights into your medical history and assist in tailoring the treatment plan specifically to your needs.  

Write Down Questions & Concerns

Prepare a list of questions or concerns you would like to discuss during the session. This will ensure you get a chance to raise everything that's on your mind and that you don't forget anything. It will help address any doubts you may have about your condition, treatment options, or expected outcomes. 

Hygiene Considerations

Consider your personal hygiene before attending the appointment as it might involve internal examinations or assessments. Taking a shower or bath beforehand ensures cleanliness and may help relieve any anxiety associated with personal appearance. 

Dress Comfortably

Wear loose-fitting clothing that allows easy access to the hip and lower abdominal areas during your appointment. This will enable the therapist to perform necessary assessments without any hindrance while maintaining your comfort and modesty.

What Happens During a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Appointment?

1. Initial Health Assessment

During your first appointment, your pelvic floor physiotherapist will conduct an initial assessment to gather relevant information about your medical history and specific concerns related to your pelvic health. You may be asked questions about symptoms you're experiencing, previous surgeries or childbirths, medications taken, and any other relevant details. 

2. Physical Examination

Following the discussion, your therapist will perform a physical examination that primarily focuses on evaluating your pelvis and surrounding muscles. The examination usually includes observing posture and movement patterns, assessing muscle strength and coordination in the lower back and abdomen area, as well as conducting an internal examination of the pelvic floor muscles. 

3. Internal Examination

With your consent, an internal examination is normally conducted, and your physio will explain the process to alleviate any discomfort or anxiety you may have about this element. For women, it involves gently inserting one or two gloved fingers into the vagina while externally palpating certain areas around the pelvis. The purpose of the internal examination is to

a)  Assess muscle strength, tone, and coordination 

b)  Identify trigger points or areas causing pain or discomfort 

c)  Assess organ prolapse, if applicable 

4. Treatment Planning

Based on their findings from both discussions and examinations carried out during your appointment, your therapist will develop a tailor-made treatment plan designed to address your specific needs effectively. This plan may include exercises targeting strengthening or relaxation techniques for the pelvic floor muscles together with strategies for managing symptoms outside therapy sessions.  

5. Hands-On Treatment

A good physiotherapist can offer a wide range of hands-on treatments to target your particular problems. Such options might include:

  • Visceral mobilisation
  • Hypopressive training
  • Kinesio taping
  • Scar therapy
  • Pregnancy massage
  • Therapeutic ultrasound 
  • INDIBA Activ

In addition, a women's health physio might offer specific programmes of treatment to address particular conditions, like a Pregnancy MOT, Mummy MOT or Menopause MOT.

 Indiba Activ treatment applied to a young woman's midriff to treat pelvic floor dysfunction.

6. Follow-Up Sessions

In subsequent appointments, your progress will be assessed and modifications made to your treatment plan, if necessary. The frequency and number of follow-up sessions required will vary depending on your specific symptoms and progress. 

Importance of Seeking Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Seeking pelvic floor physiotherapy is crucial for anyone who is experiencing issues with their pelvic floor muscles. This specialized form of therapy offers a holistic approach to address the root causes of various conditions such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction. 

By working with a trained physiotherapist, you can receive a personalised treatment plan that incorporates exercises, manual techniques and education on lifestyle modifications to improve your overall quality of life. 

Pelvic floor physiotherapy empowers individuals to take control of their health and wellbeing by providing them with the tools they need to strengthen and rehabilitate their pelvic floor muscles. Ultimately, investing in this type of therapy not only promotes physical healing but also enhances mental and emotional health by restoring confidence and improving self-esteem.



Book A Women's Physio Consultation Now



To find out how women's health physiotherapy can help your pelvic floor, call Magdalena on 07877 017 936 or drop PelviCare an email for a no-obligation chat. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online for treatment.

PelviCare Women's Health Physiotherapy is located in Greenwich, London, serving women across South London, East London, Essex, Kent and beyond. 


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