Physiotherapy and women’s health

Did you know that there are Physiotherapists who specialise in women’s health and continence? 

Unfortunately it’s a well-kept secret and many women only find out about these specialist services after problems start occurring, after childbirth or a GP referral. 

Women face a range of complex health issues over and above injury, trauma or illness and the stage of life challenges associated with middle or old age. Menstruation, menopause and pregnancy and its related conditions can also significantly affect the body. Most women assume that they must live with these conditions, as there is little or nothing that can be done to influence them other than medical/operative intervention. In many instances, that is not the case.

Some of the issues that can be positively impacted by physiotherapy include:

  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction, including incontinence
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse and
  • Prenatal and postnatal issues including mastitis, lower back pain or abdominal muscle separation.

In fact, a specifically trained Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapist can not only help better manage these conditions and any related health challenges, they are often integral to the treatment program, working alongside GP’s and specialists as part of the treatment team. What’s more, they can often help patients avoid surgery down the track. 

All Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapists have post graduate training in the range of health issues faced by women throughout every stage of their life. They identify and address specific health problems and use a variety of non-surgical treatments. 

Appointments cover a thorough assessment of the concern and an in-depth discussion about the most effective treatment technique recommended for your particular health issue. Diagnosis and treatment plans are created in line with the latest evidence-based practice, and are delivered in a safe and supportive environment. Treatment may involve simple exercises, ultrasound or massage and follow up rehabilitation activities may be recommended such as a guided exercise program or clinical Pilates.

For example, a physiotherapy session for urinary incontinence might include:

  • Practical tips and ways to reduce urinary frequency and urgency 
  • Information about diet changes that can be made to avoid irritating the bladder
  • An exercise program to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

The recommended program will help the patient identify, exercise, re-train or repair internal muscles such as those in the pelvic floor, and ultimately help to improve their quality of life.

At many LifeCare practices, we have specially trained Physiotherapists who can help with women’s health and related issues. We also help with advice about safe fitness alternatives for those people affected by, or at risk of, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and offer classes and programs including:

  • Pregnancy education 
  • Pool exercise classes
  • Clinical Pilates
  • Individual exercise prescriptions.

Oh, and we bet you didn’t know there were physios specifically trained for men’s health issues did you? There are, but that’s another story - stay tuned.

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