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Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy: What to expect from your first appointment

Physiotherapy Ruth Schubert Associate
The Alana Physiotherapists are dedicated to ensuring you leave your first appointment feeling educated, strong and empowered regarding your pelvic health.

Introduction

After many years providing this type of service, we have observed that generally a new patient doesn’t know what to expect from their first appointment with a pelvic health physiotherapist.  For many it may be the first time they have heard of this specialised area of the physiotherapy profession.

The Alana Physiotherapists are pelvic health physiotherapists who see women, men and children who may be experiencing issues with bladder and bowel control, prolapse, constipation, pelvic pain, post gynaecological and prostate surgery and sexual pain.

Your initial physiotherapy appointment will last about an hour, and the majority of this time is spent discussing your history and providing education around pelvic health. Your appointment will usually broken into four sections:

  1. History
  2. Education
  3. Examination
  4. Treatment

More on what happens during each section is detailed below.

HISTORY: At the start of the appointment you will do the majority of the talking. Your Alana Physiotherapist wants to know what your symptoms are, and how they have been affecting your life. You will be asked specific questions along the way and these might include questions about:

  • Your bladder and bowel;
  • Menstruation;
  • Muscle and joint pain;
  • Sexual function;
  • Medication;
  • Exercise; and
  • General health.

Pelvic floor physiotherapists are trained to be sensitive to how personal and intimate these topics and this part of your body can be. The Alana Physiotherapists practice trauma informed care and have done extensive training in this area.

Most importantly, your Alana Physiotherapist will want to define what your goals are from treatment, and from your life. In this context, the history you provide is an important step towards allowing your Alana Physiotherapist to start formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan in line with your goals.

EDUCATION:  After taking your history, your Alana Physiotherapist will spend more time talking with you to give you a run-down on pelvic anatomy and some possible hypothesis of what may be happening for you in your circumstances. This is often done using 3D models and diagrams, as research shows if people better understand their condition they are more likely to improve.

EXAMINATION:  At the conclusion of the history taking and education session, a physical examination may take place, with your consent. This could involve an external spinal and pelvic girdle assessment, an ultrasound assessment and potentially and internal exam (on adult patients). For women, this will be a vaginal examination and for men and some women, the exam is done rectally. The internal examination helps your Alana Physiotherapist assess the strength and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and fascia.  The full examination helps us determine if your symptoms are from muscles and joints (somatic), from organs (visceral) or from nerves (neuropathic), or a combination of these things.

It is important to note that many clients prefer not to have an internal examination at their first appointment and this is not a barrier to effective treatment. Patients are welcome to bring a support person to this appointment (please see our information regarding support persons during the COVID-19 pandemic).

TREATMENT:  After the examination your Alana Physiotherapist will discuss your diagnosis and develop a treatment plan with you to help you achieve your goals. As primary care providers physiotherapists are also trained to recognise conditions that may require further medical referral.  This will all be discussed with you in the context of your consultation.

Lastly….

Your Alana Physiotherapists are dedicated to ensure you leave your first appointment feeling educated, strong and empowered regarding your pelvic health.  That is why every physiotherapist service provided is centred around the fundamental aim of “empowering you towards health”.

We look forward to seeing you at your appointment.