10 Most Asked Weird (But Not Weird) Questions About Pelvic Health Physiotherapy
Ever wonder or have questions about pelvic health physiotherapy? We will discuss the 10 Most Asked Weird (but not really weird) questions about pelvic health physiotherapy. Being a pelvic health physiotherapist is one of the best career choices I have made because not only has it helped and benefitted many of my patients but has helped me with my own pelvic health issues.
I’ve realized a lot of individuals I’ve met do not know very much or have not been given much education about their pelvic, groin, and abdominal regions. I’ve listened first hand how women, men and others have suffered silently from these issues due to embarrassment, shame and a widespread cultural belief that pelvic dysfunction is normal and common.
To help break these cultural taboos we have created, here are answers to a list of ten weird (but not really weird) questions I’ve been asked about pelvic health physiotherapy.
- What do you do during a pelvic floor assessment?
- Is an internal pelvic examination necessary?
- Will it hurt?
- I have my period, do I have to reschedule my appointment?
- What is a normal age to first see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?
- Should I shave or wax before my appointment?
- Will the knowledge I share be kept confidential?
- Do I need to shower before my appointment?
- Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?
- What if I look weird down there?
1. What do you do during a pelvic floor assessment?
During a pelvic floor examination, I look at two main parts: an external and internal examination. I usually begin with the external examination which involves looking at the outside genital area for skin irregularities, making note of any visible fluids, and proper closure of the vaginal and rectal openings. The internal examination can be done vaginally or rectally. The internal examination will assess for tightness and tenderness of specific pelvic floor muscles, strength of the pelvic floor muscles, and integrity of the pelvic floor muscles (if the pelvic floor organs are bulging or loose).
2. Is an internal pelvic examination necessary?
The internal examination is highly recommended to help gain a full understanding of how well the pelvic floor is functioning. Also, there is a risk it may take longer to get better without an internal pelvic floor examination. In case you didn’t know, the rectal examination is optional but can be an important part when achieving the full picture of pelvic floor functioning. There are certain muscles that cannot be reached vaginally and can only be assessed rectally.
3. Will it hurt?
There may be a bit of discomfort and pain during the internal examination similar to a musculoskeletal physiotherapy assessment for any other body part such as the low back or hip. If it is your first time performing an internal pelvic examination, it will be a new and sometimes awkward experience but understand that there is only as much discomfort as you are comfortable with. Throughout the examination I ensure good communication by frequently asking questions such as “How are you feeling?”, “Are you still ok?”, “Would you like to continue or stop?” so there is no need to worry.
4. I have my period, do I have to reschedule my appointment?
Simply put, no, you do not have to reschedule your appointment if you have your period. Even if you’re experiencing a heavy flow, I wear gloves so it does not interfere with the internal examination. For the most part, I’ve assessed many women while on their period so it’s not a big deal.
5. What is a normal age to first see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?
There isn’t really a normal age. Many individuals of all ages suffer from pelvic dysfunction and can be any age when they see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. If you are capable of making treatment decisions and understand the risks and complications, you can undergo a pelvic floor examination which includes minors (refer to the Health Care Consent Act of Ontario).
6. Should I shave or wax before my appointment?
It’s not necessary but you can if you would prefer to shave or wax before your appointment. My recommendation is to do it at least one day before so that your genital region is not so irritated when you come to your appointment.
7. Will the knowledge I share be kept confidential?
Yes, all the information provided is confidential. I don’t share the information with anyone without your knowledge and permission before-hand. There are rare circumstances, if the knowledge you provide implies any harm to you or others safety, I will have to report it to the governing authority. For example, sexual abuse, child abuse or elderly abuse I am legally obligated to report.
8. Do I need to shower before my appointment?
It isn’t necessary but if you would prefer, you can take a shower the night before or morning of your appointment. Avoid using vaginal washes, douches, vaginal creams and medicines as these can irritate the genital region prior to your appointment.
9. Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?
Yes, definitely, you can bring someone with you. The person can either come in with you to your appointment if you’d prefer or outside in the waiting area.
10. What if I look weird down there?
Like snowflakes, all vaginas come in different shapes and sizes. There are no two that are alike – remember that! if your vagina looks different, it’s supposed to because it’s your vagina and no one else in the world will have one that looks like it and that is okay.
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