Women’s Health Physio at Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic

Women’s health physiotherapy can improve the quality of women’s lives by empowering them to take control of their problems. We offer assessment and management for a range of conditions for women who have gynaecological problems or who have undergone gynaecological surgery as well as for women during or following pregnancy. In fact research-based evidence and government health guidelines recommend supervised pelvic floor muscle training as a first-line course of action to treat urinary incontinence.

Pregnancy-related problems treated:

  • antenatal advice and exercises
  • back and pelvic girdle pain (formerly known as SPD) during and after pregnancy
  • postnatal problems eg separated tummy muscles (diastasis rectus abdominus)
  • long standing aches exacerbated by pregnancy/delivery
  • post natal urinary leakage/pelvic organ prolapse
  • post C-section advice check up

Women’s Health – Obstetric – FAQs

 

 How can Physio help me?

During pregnancy, aches and pains are normal. However sometimes symptoms can become more severe and cause significant pain that impacts on your enjoyment of your pregnancy. Physiotherapy can help to manage and reduce these symptoms and ensure that you recover well following the birth of your baby with no long standing problems. Following pregnancy you may have some ongoing problems with pelvic girdle or back pain, over stretched abdominal muscles or problems with your bladder continence. These are all things that Physiotherapy can help with.

 

 

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?

The pelvic girdle is a ring of bones around your body at the base of your spine. PGP is pain in the front and/or the back of your pelvis that can also affect other areas such as the hips or thighs. It can affect the sacroiliac joints at the back and/or the symphysis pubis joint at the front. PGP is common, affecting 1 in 5 pregnant women, and can affect your mobility and quality of life. Pain when you are walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed are common symptoms of PGP. However, early diagnosis and treatment can relieve your pain. PGP used to be known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

 

What causes PGP?

The three joints in the pelvis work together and normally move slightly. PGP is usually caused by the joints moving unevenly, which can lead to the pelvic girdle becoming less stable and therefore painful. As your baby grows in the womb, the extra weight and the change in the way you sit or stand will put more strain on your pelvis. You are more likely to have PGP if you have had a back problem or have injured your pelvis in the past or have hypermobility syndrome (a condition in which your joints stretch more than normal).

 

Is it safe to have physiotherapy whist I’m pregnant?

Physiotherapy treatment is safe at any stage of pregnancy or following birth. Our highly trained physiotherapist will discuss the most appropriate treatment options for you following a full and detailed assessment of your symptoms.

 

What will happen when I come to see the Physiotherapist?

Your first appointment will last an hour. Your physiotherapist will begin by talking through your symptoms and your medical history. This is an important part of the assessment to help build a clear picture of your problem. She will then perform a physical examination which may involve looking at your posture, the way your hips and back move and your muscle tone. They will then explain the causes of your symptoms and discuss the treatment options with you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and be given further explanations of anything you are unsure about.

 

Will I be given a support belt?

Pelvic supports can be helpful in some cases of PGP. Following a detailed assessment, your physiotherapist will be able to advise if this is the most appropriate treatment option for you and provide one if needed.

 

I have had my baby and I am still in pain. What should I do?

It is not uncommon for women to struggle with the symptoms of PGP following delivery. Physiotherapy can be helpful to improve your pain and get you back to enjoying this time with your new baby. You can book in for our ‘New Mum MOT’ to have ongoing aches and pains address and to ensure your recovery is speedy.

 

I’ve been told that my abdominal muscles have ‘split’. What does this mean?

During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch and spread apart to allow your baby to grow. Following delivery it is sometimes found that your muscles have over stretched or ‘split’. It is important to correct this in order to prevent back problems, abdominal weakness or hernia.

 

I feel nervous/embarrassed about my problem?

It’s easy to put off getting a problem treated because of embarrassment, however, our experts are used to talking about these things all the time and helping patients get better with the right treatment. Whatever your problem, they will have seen it many times before so there’s no need to worry or delay seeing someone.

 

Gynaecological problems treated:

  • bladder and bowel problems, including incontinence, frequency, urgency and overactive bladder, constipation and problems controlling wind.
  • stress incontinence
  • mixed urinary incontinence
  • faecal or fatal incontinence
  • pelvic floor exercises for pelvic floor weakness
  • pelvic organ prolapse advice
  • sexual pelvic pain or dysfunction
  • post operative care for any gynaecological surgery

Women’s Health – Gynaecological Problems – FAQ’s

How can Physiotherapy help me?

Women’s Health Physiotherapy can help with a number of problems. These include bladder and bowel continence problems, prolapse and pelvic pain. Bladder and bowel problems can have a variety of causes, many of which can be treated with physiotherapy. You can self-refer into our service and be seen by our expert Physiotherapist.

 

What is a prolapse?

The organs within a woman’s pelvis (uterus, bladder and rectum) are normally held in place by ligaments and muscles known as the pelvic floor. If these support structures are weakened by over-stretching, the pelvic organs can bulge (prolapse) from their natural position into the vagina. When this happens it is known as pelvic organ prolapse. Sometimes a prolapse may be large enough to protrude outside the vagina. Although more severe cases may require surgery, physiotherapy to help strengthen your pelvic floor and address lifestyle factors can help to ensure that any surgical repair is effective in the long term.

 

What is the pelvic floor muscle?

Your pelvic floor muscles span the base of your pelvis. They work to keep your pelvic organs in the correct position (preventing prolapse), tightly close your bladder and bowel (stop urinary or anal incontinence) and improve sexual satisfaction. They can become weakened or damage for a variety of reasons including child birth, lifestyle factors and chronic constipation.

 

But I already do my pelvic floor exercises!

Although you may already be doing your exercises, it is beneficial to have your technique assessed to ensure you are performing them correctly. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess your ability to work your pelvic floor muscles and provide any additional help you may need to strengthen damaged or weak muscles. Even if your pelvic floor muscles are found to be relatively good, symptoms can often be improved by learning to use your muscles appropriately – research has shown that over 75% of women are able to significantly reduce or eliminate urinary leakage with coughing by learning to activate their pelvic floor correctly. Additionally, your pelvic floor is only part of the problem and there are other factors that may need addressing to improve your symptoms.

 

What will happen when I come to see the Physiotherapist?

Your first appointment will last an hour. Your physiotherapist will begin by talking through your symptoms and your medical history. This is an important part of the assessment to help build a clear picture of your problem. With your consent, they will then perform a vaginal examination to assess the degree of any prolapse and the strength and technique of your pelvic floor muscle activation. This examination does not involve any equipment and is performed with a single gloved finger and lubricant. The physical examination is important to help fully assess your problem and build an appropriate treatment plan and your physiotherapist will explain the necessity for it and ensure you are comfortable. They will then explain the causes of your symptoms and discuss the treatment options with you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and be given further explanations of anything you are unsure about.

 

Can I bring someone with me to the appointment?

Of course! Sometimes it is helpful to have someone with you to help take in the information (although you will be given written information to take home). They can be present for as much of the appointment as you would like (you may decide you don’t want them in the room for physical examinations). Some people prefer to attend alone as they are discussing quite intimate problems. This is also fine.

 

Do I need to bring anything to my appointment?

It is often helpful to bring a list of medication you regularly take to your appointment.

 

How long will it take to see an improvement?

How long it takes to see an improvement varies depending on the nature and severity of your symptoms and how fully you are able to commit to the treatment plan. For example, if you are found to have leakage because of weak pelvic floor muscles, the national guidelines (based on research evidence) suggest that you work with your physiotherapist for 3 months initially. Improvement is sometimes seen before this, and treatment can of course be continued for a longer period if it is beneficial. To get the most from your treatment you need to be prepared to follow any advice given and perform any exercises regularly as prescribed.

 

I feel nervous/embarrassed about my problem?

It’s easy to put off getting a problem treated because of embarrassment, however, our experts are used to talking about these things all the time and helping patients get better with the right treatment. Whatever your problem, they will have seen it many times before so there’s no need to worry or delay seeing someone.

 

Please contact the clinic to make an appointment on 0114 2671223

 

 


Men’s Health Physio

Most men are not even aware they have a pelvic floor! Problems can be life changing or debilitating.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 10 men may experience continence or pelvic floor issues during their lifetime.
  • Up to 70% of men suffer from urinary incontinence following prostatectomy surgery, which can be cured by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles correctly.
  • 16% of males over 18 have overactive bladder.
  • Erectile dysfunction affects more than 20% of men under 40 years of age, more than 50% of men over 40 years of age and more than 66% of men over 70 years of age.

These issues can be life changing and debilitating. However many tolerate these problems, often for years as they are too embarrassed to seek help or unaware that there are treatments available.

We treat male incontinence and/or pelvic floor problems, including:

  • Frequency
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Urgency and/or urge incontinence
  • After-dribble (aka ‘post-micturition’ dribble) – leaking a small amount of urine leaving the toilet
  • Erectile dysfunction – inability to achieve or maintain an erection and/or premature ejaculation
  • Faecal urgency and/or incontinence
  • Difficulty controlling wind
  • Rehab after prostate surgery (prostatectomy or TURP*)

*TURP: transurethral resection of the prostate

These problems are often linked to weak pelvic floor muscles, although it is best to be assessed by a specialist therapist to see if pelvic floor muscle training is appropriate.

Men and women experiencing problems initiating the flow of urine, or who have to strain to empty their bladder, or have blood in their urine or pain on emptying their bladder, should always seek professional help.

Contact Hallamshire Physiotherapy for advice or to make an appointment for an assessment.