What is Women’s Health?
It is an area of physical therapy that specializes in the unique needs of women and addresses conditions that may be present during their lifespan. A therapist trained in women’s health therapy can address issues such as:
It is often believed that urinary incontinence is a natural part of aging and therefore individuals often do not seek medical help. While it is true that many women at some point during their lives will experience some form of urinary incontinence, it is not a natural part of aging and treatment options are available. Individuals with incontinence often find activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or not being able to get to the bathroom in time can result in an embarrassing loss of bladder control and can lead to changes in mood, self image and lifestyle.
Pregnancy Related Pain
Pregnancy should be a wonderful time in every woman’s life. However; many women frequently have complaints of low back pain, pelvic discomfort, painful intercourse and may have diminished control of urine. To address these areas of concern PT intervention may include postural education, soft tissue mobilization, bladder education, strengthening/stretching programs, and pelvic floor strengthening. After delivery, PT can prove beneficial for women experiencing sacroiliac or pubic pain, weakness in the abdominal or pelvic floor musculature.
Who can benefit from Women’s Health Therapy?
- Patients can benefit from physical therapy if they are experiencing:
- Accidental leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing
- The need to urinate frequently, or a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Pre- and post-partum related issues including back pain, diastasis recti, pubic pain and sciatica
- Pain with intercourse
How Physical Therapy Can Help
A physical therapist can evaluate and design an individualized plan of care to meet your specific needs. A physical therapist may also help you reduce and/or avoid the need for medications and/or surgery. Your treatment plan may include:
- Education on diet and nutrition to avoid items that may irritate the bladder
- Bladder Training
- Advice on how to change behaviors that make symptoms worse
- Exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen other important muscles groups
- Manual therapy
What to Expect at Your First Visit
A trained therapist will perform an in-depth evaluation. This will include a general medical history, a history related to your current condition, and questions about your eating, drinking, and voiding habits. Your posture and your hip and abdominal musculature will be checked for contributing factors such as tightness and weakness. The muscles of your pelvis (the pelvic floor) may be evaluated to determine any weakness, tightness or spasm that may be present and contributing to your condition. This portion of the exam may include an external and internal pelvic musculature assessment to determine the strength of this muscle group. Patients are welcome to have a chaperone present during treatment if they request. All treatments take place in a private room by a female therapist trained specifically in this field.
Do I Need a Referral for Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapists can see patients without a referral under what is known as “direct access”.