A women’s health physiotherapist is a physiotherapist with a specialist interest and an additional qualification in pelvic health. They can provide support to women at any time in their lives to help with the management of a wide range of conditions.
Womens health physiotherapy
1 in 3 women experience problems relating to their bladder, bowel or pelvic floor at some point in their lifetime but are either too embarrassed to seek or help or do not realise that help is available. This can result in problems such as incontinence, vaginal prolapse, pain on sexual intercourse or constipation. Many women experience pain in their pelvic joints during pregnancy that can be debilitating. A consultation with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help to alleviate these problems. With the correct assessment, advice and treatment techniques these problems can be managed.
When the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments are stretched and weakened and no longer able to support the uterus, (womb) this can result in pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Symptoms include the bladder or bowel bulging against the vaginal walls, lower back pain or difficulty emptying the bowel as well as bladder problems. There are many causes for this weakness including frequent heavy lifting, constipation, pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, abdominal or pelvic surgery or as part of the ageing process.
Mild to moderate prolapse can be treated with a tailored pelvic floor exercise plan following a careful assessment by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Chronic pelvic pain
Chronic pelvic pain is the term given to pain within the pelvic floor muscles at the entrance to the vagina. This pain is localised in the rectum or pelvis and can cause either continuous pain or pain during sexual intercourse. The cause is often unknown but, if left untreated, it can result in a variety of conditions including:-
Tight or overactive pelvic floor muscles may contribute to chronic pelvic pain. The aim of the treatment plan is to release these muscles using a variety of treatment techniques. After an individual assessment, this plan may include manual therapy to the pelvic floor (stretching, lengthening and restoring function). Breathing exercises may also be used, as well as relaxation strategies and specific strengthening exercises that may improve function and consequently quality of life.
Pelvic girdle pain (previously called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD)
Pelvic girdle pain is very common and thought to affect 1 in 5 pregnant women. It can result is pain anywhere around the pelvic joints and the intensity varies with each individual. Physiotherapy can significantly help to reduce the pain and improve mobility following thorough assessment to produce an individualised treatment plan. This plan may include exercises, advice about posture and the use of support aids where needed.
This is the term used when the two muscles that run down the middle of your stomach become separated during pregnancy. This is the result of a natural separation rather than a tear or a split in the muscles. It can result in a noticeable bulge especially when getting out of bed or out of the bath. If the gap is greater than 3 cm, then physiotherapy is recommended.
Women can develop sexual problems at any time of their lives and are often unsure about where to go for help. Here at The Women’s Heath Clinic our physiotherapist Kirsten has also completed a post graduate diploma in Psychosexual Medicine. In the past, this qualification was only available to doctors. Her approach to the management of sexual problems, such as pain and fear, combines counseling with physical examination, including desensitization work. Supervision and advice can be given in the use of a number of aids (such as dilators) designed to help in symptom relief. First appointments will take one hour in order to facilitate rapport with clients. A safe and confidential environment is provided to all clients to enable open discussion of matters which may be of an intimate nature.
Massage is a great adjunct to other treatments. Swedish massage is gentle, relaxing and can provide a sense of wellbeing. Sports massage is more vigorous, ideal for ladies who are keen to loosen up their muscles in preparation for returning to exercise. Prior to any hands on therapy, there will be an in depth interview to check clients’ health status so that the most appropriate treatment can be given. Client safety is of the utmost importance, so clients will be asked questions about allergies, ongoing health issues, and medical history. Clients who attend for a massage will be given basic postural advice and tailored information on suitable forms of exercise. A list of current medication will also be required prior to treatment.
Why choose us?
Here at The Women’s Health Clinic our qualified professionals are able to offer you an appointment at a location and at a time that is convenient to you.
We are able to offer you an appointment time at a clinic location that is suitable for you without the long waiting times you may experience at an NHS clinic and everything is completely confidential – we will not inform your GP unless you specifically ask us to.
Your named professional will be an expert in the field of women’s health with years of knowledge and experience and hold specialist qualifications within this field.