When arriving to do my ‘Women’s Health’ elective placement in 2000, I thought I’d observe Pregnancy classes, talk to ladies about bladder care, teach exercises to do after a Hysterectomy, and teach Pelvic Floor exercises. To my horror, I met my clinical educator for the next 6 weeks… coming out of fracture clinic with a BROKEN right arm! So I became her right hand, LITERALLY! That afternoon, she guided me through a vaginal examination of a new mum with weak pelvic floor muscles and leakage after having her baby; rectal Biofeedback on a 25 year old gentlemen who had been in a diving accident which left his anal sphincter weak and we examined a lady with a vaginal prolapse and taught her how to manage it. From then on I was hooked and most of my training since has centred around Pelvic Floor/Continence.
‘Women’s Health’ is now more often called ‘Pelvic Health’, in many hospitals/clinics not only because it is a more accurate description, but in sympathy with the poor men having to hide at the back of the waiting room of the ‘Women’s Health’ clinic!
Who needs Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?
People who come to see me usually have one or more of the following symptoms; Leakage from the bladder or bowel; difficulty passing a stool; urgency to urinate or going to the loo more frequently; recurrent bladder infections; pain in the pelvic area, including bladder pain; pain or lack of enjoyment during sexual intercourse; erectile problems; a bulge in the vagina/back passage or a feeling of ‘something coming down’ between the legs (prolapse).
Symptoms usually creep up on people slowly, they may have had surgery in the pelvic area, (e.g. Hysterectomy or Prostatectomy) a change in lifestyle, stress, taken up a new sport and of course for women – being pregnant and having a baby can cause quite a stir in the downstairs region, especially if the baby was big, the labour was very long, or there was an injury to the skin or muscles. Chronic coughs, constipation, smoking, and being overweight make you more likely to get Pelvic Health issues. A huge culprit is the MENOPAUSE, (it’s not diamonds ladies, but OESTROGEN that is a girl’s best friend, well, a vaginas at least!)