Pelvic Health Physiotherapy in Pregnancy and Beyond
By: Jennifer Hunter BKin, BScPT
Did you know that over 70% of women experience pelvic floor complications as a result of childbirth, and about 10% of Canadians experience some form of incontinence? While this remains a taboo subject for many Canadians, pelvic floor physiotherapy is an effective, evidence-based treatment for pelvic pain and incontinence.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum; and assist with bladder, bowel and sexual function. They also have a very significant contribution in keeping our core strong and our backs healthy. However, many of us are unaware that these muscles exist and in turn, do very little to keep them healthy and use them appropriately.
Problems in your pelvic floor can happen when these muscles are either too tight or too weak. This can lead to issues including pelvic pain, incontinence, constipation, and difficulties with sexual intercourse. These symptoms are most commonly seen in women before and/or after pregnancy, and as we age. Many women feel that it is normal to experience these issues, and often just “grin and bear it.”
It is not normal to leak when you sneeze, laugh, or cough
It is not normal to have pain with intercourse
It is not normal to feel pressure, heaviness, or pain in your pelvic region
Physiotherapists with specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation are the first line of defence to help prevent and treat these issues. They are highly trained, sensitive professionals who will discuss all aspects of assessment and treatment with you thoroughly before proceeding.
During your initial examination, your therapist will take a full medical history and discuss your current issues. They will perform an assessment of the joints and muscles in the area. This may also include an internal exam to identify the affected tissues that may be contributing to the issue. After this, they will develop a plan of action to specifically address and treat your condition. This may include:
Manual (hands-on) therapy not only to the pelvic muscles but to nearby joints and muscles including the abdomen, trunk, back and hips
Connective tissue manipulation
Scar tissue mobilization
Ongoing and inclusive education, including self-care tips
Relaxation and breathing training
Are you thinking about having a baby, or are currently pregnant? A consultation with a pelvic floor therapist can help lead you in the right direction to keep healthy and pain free during and after your pregnancy.
About the author: Jennifer Hunter is a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic health. She has extensive post-graduate training from Pelvic Health Solutions for incontinence, prolapse, and pelvic pain, with a particular interest in pre- and postnatal care. After becoming a mom herself, she realized the importance of pelvic physiotherapy and is passionate about helping other women return to optimal health in a safe way. She is currently accepting patients at Trilogy Physiotherapy at 324 Prince Edward Dr. South, in the Kingsway. Our brand new clinic has quiet, private treatment rooms to put patients at ease when discussing sensitive issues. To find out more about Jennifer and our services, call Trilogy Physiotherapy at 416-232-2343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.