What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is a broad term that includes the assessment and treatment of bladder, bowel and pelvic floor problems. The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles that support our bladder, bowel and reproductive system; and like any other muscle it may need to be strengthened, or released, from time to time. Weakened, or over-tightened pelvic floor muscles contribute to pelvic pain; prolapse; stress and urge incontinence; sexual dysfunction; along with back or hip pain. Both men and women will experience a range of pelvic conditions at various stages.
Caroline O’Connell is a Chartered Physiotherapist who specializes in Women’s health and continence. Caroline has had extensive post graduate training in both in Ireland and the UK. She now treats the range of conditions outlined below using exercise, advice and manual therapy.
Men's Health Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy can help treat pelvic floor dysfunction in men with bladder or bowel control problems post prostatectomy as well as urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes. The conditions physiotherapy can help with are:
- Post prostatectomy.
- Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain.
- Bowel dysfunction.
Some symptoms we commonly see in men are:
- Urinary frequency and urgency
- Bladder or bowel control problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pelvic and lower back pain
Women's Health Physiotherapy
Women of all ages may experience a range of pelvic floor conditions in their lifetime. Some difficulties are noticed following childbirth but painful pelvic conditions and continence issues can present at any time.
Some of the issues we commonly see in the clinic are:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence
- Urge Urinary Incontinence
- Overactive Bladder
- Childhood Incontinence
- Male Incontinence
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Chronic Pelvic Pain – low back, hip, pelvic pain
- Bowel Conditions – Constipation or Faecal Incontinence
- Sexual Dysfunction (Dyspareunia)
Pregnancy & Postnatal
- Support and education on safe exercise, during and after pregnancy
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction
- Low back pain
- Rib pain/Thoracic Pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Diastasis Rectus Abdominis
- Postnatal check-up – The Mummy MOT
What Will My Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Do?
Your first session with a physiotherapist will include a detailed assessment of your condition, beginning with questions about your symptoms and general medical history. You can rest assured that everything you tell the physiotherapist will remain completely confidential.
The assessment will be followed by a physical examination. The type of examination carried out will depend on the condition you are attending with and may include an assessment of posture and function, muscle tone, flexibility and strength. If required, a digital internal examination may be carried out.
Caroline also undertakes the Mummy MOT, which is a specialist postnatal assessment for women following cesarean and vaginal deliveries. It involves an assessment of how well your posture, pelvic floor muscles and stomach muscles are recovering after the birth. If they’re not recovering well, she can provide you with appropriate exercise and treatment to guide your recovery.
What Are The Treatments?
Treatment programs are specifically designed based on your symptoms and the results of the assessment. Together, Caroline and you will tailor a treatment and home program that best suits your needs.
Treatment may include:
- Exercises to strengthen or release the pelvic floor muscles
- Manual therapy
- Advice about healthy bladder and bowel habits
- Discussion surrounding possible lifestyle changes that will help manage the problem
- Pilates instruction – one to one or class settings
What Can I Do If I Think I May Have A Problem?
- Contact Caroline for advice
- Discuss the problem with your doctor
- If you think you have a weak pelvic floor, try kegel exercises
The most important thing that you can do is address this problem. Women do not need to suffer in silence – make an appointment to see Caroline today and your concerns will be dealt with in total confidence. Take charge of your pelvic health today!