Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy – What Can I Expect?
When it comes to pelvic floor physical therapy, patients have lots of questions prior to their first appointment. Do I need to wear workout clothes? Are you going to use a speculum? You only treat elderly women right, I’m your only young patient? These are all questions I have heard from patients and these barely skim the surface of the hundreds that through patients’ minds as they schedule their first appointment at our clinic. It can be scary, uncomfortable, and downright awkward to talk about your private life with a stranger. Our job is to ease your fears and set your mind at ease.
Questions Question Questions
If you talk to any of our current or past patients they will tell you, we ask a lot of questions. We want a detailed history, not only of your current issue bringing you to therapy, but any other component that could be playing a role. That means you should expect to answer questions about your bathroom habits, exercise and diet routine, health history, and yes, even your sex life. We don’t ask to be nosey or make you uncomfortable. We ask because we treat our patients as a whole person, and each of these aspects could be an important piece to your healthcare puzzle.
You should expect your physical therapist check your low back, hips, pelvis, or any other area of complaint. That means a quick movement screen, strength assessment, and your PT watching you perform functional activities like squatting or bending forward. If you’ve ever been to a traditional PT appointment, this part is probably very similar to what you’ve already experienced!
Before assessing your pelvic floor, your PT should run through what to expect during the exam, showing you on the pelvic model or using pictures to see the muscles we assess and answering any questions you have. The pelvic exam is an internal and external check of the health of the tissues in your pelvis including skin, muscles, and nerves. Your PT will check for reflexes and sensitivity externally. Next, they will gently palpate the muscles internally to check for any tension or pain and check your muscle strength. Again, each of these components of the assessment could be a factor in your current symptoms.
Plan of Care
Lastly, your PT will recap everything found during your pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation and create a personalized plan to help solve your problem. Typically, your appointment will last approximately 1 hour in which you are 1 on 1 with a physical therapist and can ask questions at any time. It is important to remember your PT’s goal is to help you and make you feel comfortable! If you are uncomfortable at any point during the evaluation, please let your therapist know so they can adjust the appointment accordingly. We want to tailor each treatment to the individual patient and what you are experiencing is important.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy – Burning Questions
So to answer those burning questions…
Are you our “typical” patient? Truthfully, everyone is. We see all ages and all genders with all different types of reasons for coming in.
Do you need to wear workout clothes? You can wear whatever you would like! Whether you’re coming from work, home, or the gym, we do not mind. Please wear whatever you are comfortable in.
Will we use a speculum during the exam? Nope!
If you have any other questions before your pelvic floor physical therapy appointment, please don’t hesitate to call or email and we will be glad to give you more information! We want each of our patients to feel comfortable before, during, and after their appointments.
Jessie McGown, PT, DPT