Women's Health Physiotherapy covers all areas relating to Obstetrics (pregnancy) and Gynaecology. 1 in 3 women experience women's health problems during their lifetime. However many tolerate these problems, either too embarrassed to seek help or unaware that there are treatments available.
There are a wide range of conditions that can be treated and helped by a Women's Health physiotherapist including:
- Stress urinary incontinence (leakage when coughing / sneezing or undertaking physical activities)
- Urge and frequency incontinence including an over active bladder. (Leakage when you don't make it in time or having to urinate frequently)
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Sexual discomfort
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Weak pelvic floor muscles following childbirth
- Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, nausea and vomiting
- Post-natal treatment of rectus abdominis divarication (split tummy muscles)
- Post-operative treatment of breast cancer (including post lumpectomy or mastectomy and reconstructive surgery)
- Post gynaecology surgery
The pelvic floor has been described as a hammock or sling that extends from the pubic bone at the front to the coccyx at the back. The bulk of the pelvic floor muscle is at the back and sides of the rectum. An effective pelvic floor contraction is achieved by tightening up from the back and pulling upwards and forwards towards the pubic bone. Normal pelvic organ alignment and function relies on the integrity of the pelvic floor muscles and the internal pelvic and abdominal connective tissue. This can be damaged by childbirth or pelvic surgery. Abdominal surgery could lead to adhesions or scar tissue that effect the normal function of the pelvic floor.
Treatment is aimed at optimising the function of the pelvic floor muscles. In cases of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse the pelvic floor muscles are often weak and research has shown that pelvic floor exercises could prevent surgery and reduce symptoms. Conservative management is recommended for 3 months by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The pelvic floor muscles can also be tight or overactive and can present as chronic pelvic pain or pain in the genital region and may cause sexual discomfort. Treatment is aimed at releasing these muscles and restrictions before appropriate strengthening.
If you have any queries please feel free to contact us for more information or an informal chat. It is always advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible.