What is pelvic floor physiotherapy?
While pelvic floor physiotherapy is widely taken as a branch of women’s health, it generally is a kind of orthopedic PT treatment (males have pelvic floors too!). Much like regular PT, pelvic floor physiotherapy aims to address imbalances in your musculoskeletal system - checking for weakness and tightness in the muscles and other structures that make up the pelvic floor, and addressing all of these as we go along with your individualized treatment plan.
The only difference is that pelvic floor physiotherapy usually requires being fully undressed in your pelvic region. This would allow the pelvic floor physiotherapist to observe and perform an internal assessment of the structures in the vagina and/or the rectum, if needed.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists attend specialized continuing education courses, which include extensive practical experiences in assessing and treating the pelvic region, before being able to see patients with pelvic floor concerns. (more information on our training and approach is available on: http://pelvichealthsolutions.ca/for-the-patient/)
What can I expect during my first pelvic floor physio session?
On your first visit, your pelvic floor physiotherapist will perform a complete physical examination - which will most likely include an internal examination - to get to the root causes of your symptoms. The session will start with a conversation with your PT, where you will be encouraged to open up not just about your symptoms and medical history, but about how your concerns affect you and your emotional well-being.
All treatment sessions will be held in a quiet, private room, designed to maximize your comfort during the entire course of your pelvic floor treatment. You can also trust that you will receive your physiotherapist’s undivided attention for the entire time that your appointment is booked for. Every procedure will be performed gently and with your comfort as our number one priority, and you can expect that your PT will regularly follow up on how you are feeling.
You can also trust that throughout your plan of care that you will only be seeing one physiotherapist. She will be highly familiar with your individual needs, and your treatment will not involve anybody else apart from you and your PT (we do not use the services of PT assistants).
How can I prepare for my pelvic floor initial assessment and follow-up sessions?
A lot of people feel anxious/stressed by the idea of being “exposed in their private regions” for pelvic floor physio. You can trust that we apply a very professional approach to your care, and that we highly prioritize respecting your modesty and dignity during every interaction. You are free to communicate any discomfort throughout the process, be it physical or emotional.
Everybody is also encouraged to come as they are. You do not need to spend any money or time for any other services to prepare for your session. Just relax, and understand that this is your time to take care of yourself, and try not to fear or worry about your appointment. We will try our best to make you feel at ease.
Our only request is that, prior to coming in for your first appointment, you complete the forms and questionnaires that we will send you ahead of time. These documents greatly help us in planning ahead, and they enable us to interact with you in the most facilitated way possible. It also allows us to be informed of things that we should be mindful about or avoid during our first meeting.
Initial assessments are booked for one hour, and follow-ups are booked for 45 minutes. We are highly respectful of everybody’s time, and we ask our patients to be the same.
As for the duration of treatment, everybody has a unique set of concerns and everybody responds to treatment differently. Your individualized treatment plan will involve a collaborative process between you and your therapist, and your progress will be discussed with you on the regular.
How long will my sessions take, and how often will I need to come in?
It sometimes gets difficult to plan treatments around your period, and it should not be a barrier at all to receiving care. Being on your period should not affect your treatment, unless you feel significant discomfort and are not willing to come in. We may even be able to help you through dysmenorrhea if it is one of your concerns.
Should I cancel my appointment when I have my period?
Absolutely. You can receive any physiotherapy service without a referral from a medical doctor. Do check with your private insurance however, to see if they require this for physiotherapy coverage.
I think I may have pelvic floor dysfunction, but my doctor hasn’t mentioned pelvic floor physio. Can I still come in without a referral?
Unfortunately, our clinic services are not covered by OHIP.