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5 Things to Know About Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Hello, I’m Claire McDonald, and I’m you’re local, friendly pelvic floor physiotherapist! This means that in addition to treating “typical” physiotherapy injuries and alignments, I also have post-graduate training in assessing and treating the pelvic floor muscles. If you’re part of the majority who has never heard about pelvic floor physiotherapy, here are 5 things you ought to know.

1) We’re just like any other physiotherapist.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy (sometimes called pelvic health or women’s health physiotherapy) is just like any other type of physiotherapy. We are concerned about rehabilitation, pre-habilitation, optimizing movement, maximizing function, eliminating pain, and improving quality of life. We are also manual and orthopaedic physiotherapists primarily, and still use these skills to assess, diagnose and treat the whole body, including the pelvic floor.

2) We’re unlike every other physiotherapist.

In addition to our basic physio skills, pelvic floor physiotherapists have post-graduate training that allows us to perform manual internal examinations that access the pelvic floor vaginally or rectally. Doing so allows for greater success in assessing and treating conditions that manifest in the abdominal-lumbo-pelvic-hip region of the body. We take the context of the whole body into consideration when treating the pelvic area.

3) The research supports pelvic floor physiotherapy! 

The 2010 Cochrane Collaboration concluded that physiotherapists with specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation should be the first line of defence, before surgical consultation, for stress, urge and mixed incontinence in women. Many other studies have been published which provide strong evidence for the efficacy of pelvic floor physiotherapy for prolapse, pre and post-natal conditions, core dysfunction, pelvic pain and bowel/bladder dysfunction.

4) We treat men too. 

Men have a pelvic floor too! Common symptoms that a pelvic floor physiotherapist may treat in a male population include stress incontinence stemming from complications from prostate surgery, medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), weak pelvic floor muscles, overactive bladder syndrome, chronic tight pelvic floor muscles causing coccyx, pelvic/abdominal pain, penile and scrotum pain. 

5) The pelvic floor muscles are just like any others in our body. 

The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles that sits like a hammock across the bottom of the bony pelvis. Just like any other muscle in the body, we want the pelvic floor muscles to be strong, flexible and coordinated in order to function at their best. These muscles can become weak and uncoordinated, due to pregnancy/childbirth and aging, and can also become tight, just like any other muscle in our body. 

Some of the conditions pelvic floor physiotherapy can help with are listed below. If you have any questions about your pelvic health or how we can help, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or book a consultation with our Registered Physiotherapist, Claire McDonald. 

-Urinary incontinence

-Urinary urgency, frequency or hesitancy

-Bowel issues such as constipation or faecal incontinence

-Prolapsed bladder, uterus or rectumPelvic pain

-Diastasis recti or other core and abdominal wall dysfunction

-Pelvic inflammatory disease

-Pain with sex (dyspareunia)

-Pubic symphysis dysfunction


-Pelvic girdle pain, sciatica, or SI joint pain during or after pregnancy

-Pre/Postnatal exercise Childbirth preparation and pre-natal education



-Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)

-Persistent low back, hip, groin, or abdominal pain

-Scar tissue restricting the abdomen, pelvic floor or vulvar region

-Post surgery for hysterectomies or any other pelvic surgery

Claire McDonald

Registered Physiotherapist

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