What to expect in a pelvic floor consult
July 17, 2023
Here at Instinct Health, we are dedicated to helping individuals regain their optimal physical well-being. One area of our expertise that is often overlooked or misunderstood is the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor plays a crucial role in maintaining core stability, bladder and bowel control, and sexual function.
The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that stretch across the base of the pelvis, supporting the organs above it. In women, it includes the uterus, bladder, and rectum. While in men, it supports the bladder and rectum, as well as the prostate.
What is involved in a pelvic floor assessment?
A pelvic floor assessment is a comprehensive evaluation performed by a trained physiotherapist to assess the function and strength of the pelvic floor muscles. It is crucial for several reasons:
- Identifying Dysfunction: an assessment helps identify any potential dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles, such as weakness, overactivity, or coordination issues. This is particularly important for individuals experiencing symptoms like urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction.
- Tailoring Treatment: the assessment findings provide valuable insights to tailor an appropriate treatment plan. Each individual’s pelvic floor is unique, and understanding the specific issues helps design a personalised approach to address your needs effectively.
The Pelvic Floor Assessment Process
- During the initial consultation, the physiotherapist will take a comprehensive medical history particularly in relation to bladder/bowel/sexual functions and gynaecological history, current symptoms, and any concerns you may have as well as goals. This helps provide a comprehensive overview and sets the foundation for the assessment. During the initial consultation the following options of how the pelvic floor muscles can be assessed will be discussed to determine what you feel comfortable with.
Options for Pelvic Floor Muscle Assessment:
- External Observation:
- The physiotherapist can perform an external observation of the pelvic area, looking for any visible signs of abnormalities, such as scars, swelling, or muscle imbalances. This visual assessment aids in understanding the overall condition of the pelvic floor.
- Internal Examination:
- The internal examination is conducted to assess the strength, tone, and coordination of the pelvic floor muscles and is considered the gold standard of assessment when it comes to your pelvic floor. It is performed with the utmost care and sensitivity, ensuring client comfort and consent at all times. The physiotherapist will use gloves and lubricant while gently inserting one finger into the vagina to palpate the pelvic floor muscles as well as your pelvic organs.
- Muscle Assessment
- By feeling the strength, endurance, and ability to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles, the physiotherapist can assess their function. This evaluation helps determine if the muscles are too weak or overactive and guides the development of an appropriate treatment plan.
- Additional Tests
- In some cases or if you do not feel comfortable with an internal examination an ultrasound machine may be used to assess aspects of your pelvic floor function.
A pelvic floor assessment conducted by a specifically trained physiotherapist is a valuable tool for diagnosing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction. It enables us to evaluate the strength, tone, and coordination of the pelvic floor muscles and provides insights into any underlying issues that may be contributing to your symptoms. These may include incontinence, pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction is common, but it’s not something you have to live with. Seeking proper assessment and guidance from a physiotherapist, can help you regain control over your pelvic health and improve your quality of life. Please do not hesitate to reach out for a pelvic floor assessment if you are experiencing any symptoms or have concerns about your pelvic floor function.
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