Getting a referral to pelvic floor physical therapy can be surprising or maybe a little anxiety producing. Many patients say they had never heard of pelvic floor therapy. Often, medical providers don’t explain much of what to expect when you go. No Wonder there is quite a bit of anxiety surrounding the appointments! And, because people don’t know much about it, it is easy to go and not know if you are really getting the care you need.
Let’s discuss some things YOU should expect at your first visit with pelvic floor physical therapy.
- Expect to talk about your medical history. This will include pregnancies, deliveries, surgeries, medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. All of these can contribute to changes in your pelvic floor and function of the pelvic organs.
- Our practice is trauma informed. We understanding that many people have experienced trauma within the medical community, or relating to sexual experiences or other situations. We keep our setting comfortable, and safe and keep you in control at all times.
- Expect to talk about the functions of your pelvic floor. This should include bowel, bladder, and sexual functions. Rarely do changes in one system not effect another one. This can mean that if you are coming to PT for urinary leaking, we will ask about bowel functions too.
- Anticipate a thorough assessment of your hips, back, pelvic joints and abdominal wall. All of the muscles and joints surrounding the pelvis can change how the pelvis is working. If you have tightness in your hips, this can contribute to tightness in your pelvic floor. Or maybe you have decreased core strength that is contributing to leaking.
- We will educate you on your pelvic floor and it’s functions. We want you to understand what is going on in your body so that you can be a strong advocate for yourself and understand why the exercises or changes we are suggesting are important.
- We may recommend and complete a pelvic floor assessment. This is a one-finger assessment of your pelvic floor that can be completed vaginally or rectally. This allows for a more complete understanding of what is contributing to your symptoms and help us to prescribe the best exercises and behavioral changes for you.
- Expect to go home with a home program. This can be a few exercises, some dietary recommendations, stress management tools or meditation. This will change every week as your symptoms improve. We will talk about how the home program is going at the beginning of every treatment and modify it each week.
It is important as a patient to ask questions and have expectations for your provider. You should feel like supported by your team to help along your health care journey. If your care feels like it isn’t enough, or isn’t providing you with the benefits you expected, speak out to your provider and ask. If you don’t find the response is enough, or it excuses the question, you should find a provider who wants to be part of your team, not just your rehab “boss”.
We offer a free 15 minute consultation to answer your questions and make sure we are the right place to help you meet your goals.