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What is a Women’s Health Physio?

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

I have had so many friends ask me ‘What does a women’s health physiotherapist do?’ and ‘How are you different from other physiotherapists?’

So, I would like to take this opportunity to chat to you about my role.

Well like other physiotherapists I assess and treat clients with muscle aches and pains in their neck, back and other areas of their body, however I have chosen to further qualify in the area specifically related to women’s issues, such as pelvic floor muscles dysfunctions and pelvic girdle pain, breasts blockages and so much more...

I would just like to expand on these areas a little just in case you may be watching and experiencing some of these concerns yourself or have a friend who may have expressed pain or concern to you in one or more of these related areas and doesn’t know where to seek help or who to ask for help.

Often a number of painful or dysfunctional concerns stem from the working of the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs). They are these muscles located in the pelvis here.

The deep PFMs along with ligaments support the organs of the bowel, bladder, uterus and vagina in women and the more superficial muscles have more of a closure role of the anus and around the urethra preventing leakage from the bowel and bladder. Now if these muscles lose strength, and or lose or gain an increase in tone, they can cause pain and dysfunction. Such as:

Pelvic girdle pain – this is when a woman experiences pain either in the pubic area in the front of her pelvis, or at the back of the pelvis around the lower back and sacral areas, or even deep internally within her pelvis. The pain may be due to sporting activities or during pregnancy and or after childbirth, injury or pelvic pain may occur with sexual intercourse (Vaginismus) or when using their bowel and or bladder. By using Real Time Ultrasound Imagery, I can see the pelvic floor muscles and if they are working well or not. From there I will often suggest a vaginal examination to the client, as this will allow me to determine the specific PFMs that are causing the discomfort and then treat them accordingly. A vaginal assessment and treatment is purely by consent from the client and is most often painless. I start with an insertion of 1 finger into the vagina and as the patient feels comfortable, and or as needed, we can then progress the assessment and or treatment.

Bladder and or bowel dysfunctions – the most common would be Incontinence - which is when a person loses wind, urine or faces (poo) when they cough, laugh, sneeze or jump or they may experience a sense of urgency or urge incontinence, meaning that they have to go to the toilet more often than normal or that they leak and don’t quite make the toilet. This can occur to more than 1 / 3 women at any stage of life – teens, perimenopause, menopause or in pregnancy. There are many strategies, and educational tools that we can use to retrain the PFMs and bowel or bladder.

The PFMs may also be considered primary stabilising muscles that assist in providing a base of the core abdominal muscles to work from. So, keeping them healthy and strong is needed to improve core strength and fitness. There are numerous pain free assessment, treatment and educational tools a women’s health physiotherapist can use to treat any concerns related to the pelvic floor and core muscles. I see many women a week at various stages in their lives, be it teens, or mid 20-40s trying to conceive, pregnant women, postnatal women, or menopausal women.

Many ladies do not realise they can get help out there to treat these conditions or symptoms. I am hoping after this video they will know there’s treatment out there for them.

As a women’s health physiotherapist, I also treat breasts when the breast ducts are blocked in breast feeding. Using therapeutic ultrasound and massage, we can often free these ducts, so that milk flows again and both mum and baby are happy again.

Finally, I would just like to mention that I work closely with a team or other allied health professionals such as doctors, hormone specialists, urologists, counsellors, Lactation Consultants, Fitness and Pilates instructors and many others to support women, so she can live a happy fun filled life.

So I hope this brief YouTube video has now outlined more clearly the role of a women’s health physiotherapist and if you think you may need treatment or advice please call me at Physio Asia on 67364142 and make a booking and come in. I would love to meet you.

Take care, have a great day.

Danielle Barratt

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