What is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and why might you need to see one?

The pelvic floor muscles are among the first voluntary muscles we learn to control – giving us direct control of bladder and bowels. Called “core” muscles, they provide support for the lower back and abdominal organs. Over our lifetime, these muscles lose their tone and elasticity and the result can be lower back pain, reduced control over those first-learned functions, and even hernias or prolapsed organs.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists are trained in assessing and treating dysfunctions that can arise from loss of pelvic muscle tone or trauma arising from age, pregnancy, or any abdominal surgery (such as hysterectomy or prostatectomy). Using evidence-based care techniques and their specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation, these physiotherapists work with patients to build muscle strength and often, can reduce or eliminate the need for surgery to correct an issue (such as incontinence).

At the initial appointment, the Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist will first observe how the patient moves, and will examine hips, pelvis, abdomen, spine, and muscles impacting the pelvic girdle. A vaginal and or rectal exam may be required to evaluate pelvic floor presentation. A combination of various treatments such as therapeutic exercise, manual techniques, education on modifying behaviours, and/or biofeewdback will address the patient’s limits and work towards improved function.

Most patients can expect to visit their Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for four to six sessions after their initial appointment, but more time may be required to ensure the patient is making appropriate progress. The ultimate goal is to have the patient independently able to manage their own condition and at-home exercise regime.

Maryla Podgajny is a licensed Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and owns and operates On the Coast Physio. She has recently expanded her practice to Gibsons and is now accepting new patients. For more information, visit her website at onthecoastphysio.com or call 604.989.6828.

by Maryla Podgajny, PT