Women’s health physiotherapy is a specialist area of physiotherapy supporting women through their life stages from being a young woman, through the childbearing years, to mid-life and beyond menopause.
The advanced physiotherapists in Eve Health’s support network specialise in the management of pelvic floor issues including bladder and bowel dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction, as well as pregnancy-related pain and dysfunction.
These physiotherapists are passionate about providing the best possible care for our women. As affiliates of our multidisciplinary team, they work closely with our obstetricians and gynaecologists to support women in achieving their goals and the best possible outcomes. The Eve Health team have a holistic approach to women’s wellbeing with a philosophy that many gynaecological conditions and pregnancy care are best managed with a team approach.
Physiotherapy and Pelvic Pain
Persistent pelvic pain associated with endometriosis and other pelvic disorders can have a huge impact on a woman’s enjoyment of life and her wellbeing. People who suffer from pelvic pain often also contend with a myriad of other symptoms including painful intercourse, bladder and bowel dysfunction, anxiety, psychological effects, and social and relationship issues. The physiotherapists in our support network work together with our gynaecologists and an affiliated psychologist to offer a comprehensive approach to pain management.
Physiotherapy will help to work out what is driving your pain and help decipher the causes from the symptoms. One contributing factor in pelvic pain that physiotherapists are often concerned with is pelvic floor muscle pain and overactivity. This is often accompanied by increased muscle tension, high resting tone, reduced ability to relax the pelvic floor muscles, difficulty emptying the bladder and bowel, and painful intercourse.
The pelvic floor physiotherapists in our support network are highly trained to restore normal muscle function, alleviate pelvic floor muscle pain, and therefore improve quality of life through a number of therapies including:
- Pain education
- Muscle retraining, stretching and tension release
- Guided imagery and progressive desensitisation
- Relaxation techniques
- Good bladder and bowel habits and training
- Appropriate exercise and lifestyle modifications
- Sexual health advice
- Surgery preparation and recovery support
Bladder, Prolapse and Bowel Health
According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, one in three women who have had a baby experience urinary leakage, and as many as 50% of women suffer from some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. The pelvic floor muscles are subjected to many stresses during our lifetime, including childbirth, ageing, injury, and certain lifestyle factors. These stresses can lead to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction such as weakness and poor coordination.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is the most recommended and evidence-based conservative management available to treat pelvic floor, bladder, and bowel dysfunction. Evidence suggests that Pelvic Floor Muscle training should be first line treatment for symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse, and that supervised and individually tailored pelvic floor muscle training is effective in treating all types of urinary incontinence in all women.
Physiotherapy helps women to prepare for pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Pregnancy causes rapid changes to a woman’s body. In addition to the effects of a growing baby, pregnancy hormones are also creating physical challenges for muscles, ligaments and joints.
You can see one of the physiotherapists in our support network at any time during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. However, most women find it beneficial to attend an appointment early in their second trimester, around 35 weeks as part of their birth preparation, and again at six weeks post-delivery.
Many of the physical discomforts that are associated with these changes throughout the different stages of pregnancy can be alleviated with the help of a physiotherapist.
Pelvic girdle pain (sacroiliac and pubic symphysis) is the most common pregnancy-related musculoskeletal condition, affecting an estimated 1 in 5 expectant mothers. As the joints of the pelvis soften in preparation for delivery, there is a protective response from the muscle system which can lead to irritation and inflammation of the joints in the pelvis. These changes can often result in pain and discomfort, making it difficult to perform regular tasks such as getting out of bed, sitting, walking, standing, and going to work. While this can be very scary, physiotherapists can provide strategies to reduce inflammation and strain on soft tissue, as well as well-targeted exercises to rebalance the muscle system.
Other common pregnancy-related conditions and advice that physiotherapists in our support network can help you with include:
- back and neck pain
- wrist and hand pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome
- pelvic floor muscle strengthening and prevention of urinary incontinence
- muscle cramps and lower limb swelling
- abdominal instability and muscle separation (diastasis rectus)
- guidance for appropriate exercise and return to sport advice
- birth preparation