What is a Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist?

by Chelsie Doncon – Physiotherapist, and Bronwyn Trichet – Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists working in Continence and Women’s Health (C&WH) have completed additional study to treat children and adults with problems relating to the pelvic area. This means we love to talk about and manage all things bowel, bladder, sexual function and pelvic pain related, as well conditions specific to pregnancy, postnatal and menopause. 

When should I see a Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist?

Your GP, obstetrician, midwife or gynecologist may recommend you see a C&WH Physiotherapist to help with a specific problem or condition. However, you don’t need a referral and can book an appointment of your own accord.

Common pelvic floor problems managed include:

  • Bladder leakage with coughing, sneezing, exercising
  • Bladder and bowel urgency – that drop and run feeling!
  • Frequent visits to the toilet (much more than your friends)
  • Bowel incontinence (including wind)
  • Difficulty opening your bowels such as frequent straining
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Prolapse or the feeling of heaviness or bulging in the vagina
  • Painful intercourse, inability to use tampons or pain with vaginal examinations

Common pregnancy and postnatal concerns managed include:

  • Preventative pelvic floor muscle training
  • Abdominal muscle separation
  • Advice on return to or commencing an exercise program
  • Wrist or thumb pain
  • Low back or pelvic pain
  • Breastfeeding concerns such as damaged nipples, blocked milk ducts, mastitis
  • TENS hire for use in labour as a pain relief option

What can I expect at a C&WH appointment?

An initial appointment is approximately an hour, this allows the Physiotherapist to gain detailed information about the history of your problem, general health, areas of pain, bladder and bowel function, sexual function, diet and fluid intake and personal goals. 

Often a pelvic floor muscle assessment is completed at this time. This is to ensure the muscles are performing optimally, meaning they can be strongly squeezed in the right direction, held for long enough, aren’t painful and can relax all the way down – all without breath-holding or using any other muscles. 

The pelvic floor can be assessed in two main ways:

  1. Real-Time Ultrasound Machine – where an ultrasound probe is placed externally, normally on the low abdomen; and/or
  2. Vaginal examination

It’s important you know that how your pelvic floor is assessed is your choice and you can consent to the option that feels right for you. The reason a vaginal examination may be performed is to assess pelvic floor muscle strength, for prolapse (where it is and how large it is), for areas of pain and tenderness, examine tissue health, among other reasons. Any queries or concerns about this can be discussed with the Physiotherapist at your appointment.

How to make an appointment?

Please contact the clinic on 08 93280500 to make a booking with one of our C&WH Physiotherapists. The cost of the appointment may be claimed with your Private Health Fund depending on your cover. We also accept health care plans. 

How to prepare for an appointment?

Please bring along any referrals you may have from your doctor or specialist as well as any reports from any investigations you may have had. We recommend having a comfortably full bladder for your appointment, as real-time ultrasound requires this to achieve the best visual assessment. 

We are here for you

We want to ensure that your pelvic health issues are not holding you back from living the life you want to live. The first step can seem scary to take but it is so worth it.

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