New experiences can be exciting and, sometimes, frightening. For some, the words first ‘assessment’ bring up memories of pop quizzes or exams. Things can seem scary when you’re feeling unsure about your health and wellness ‘down there’. If you’re feeling hesitant about your pelvic health, we’re here to talk about what to expect during your first pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment.
What happens during the first assessment?
The first assessment is about getting to know you, understanding your health history, and doing a checkup of your body. A lot of people are afraid of discomfort so we always let them know that our role as pelvic physiotherapists is to provide guidance so that you can make good decisions for your health. At any point you’re able to say, ‘oh, I’m not sure,’ or, ‘I’m uncomfortable with this’ and we will find ways to work around it to help you get better.
What kinds of questions are asked?
We note any medical concerns and together we talk about your medical history. By explaining the anatomy of your pelvic floor, we see how your body moves and end with an internal assessment. We discuss what the results from the session are and we begin working together to figure out your goals and your personalized treatment plan.
What is the ‘internal examination’?
An internal assessment is to check on the deeper layer of your pelvic floor. It’s not going to be as uncomfortable as a pap test. Basically, the therapist will use a finger to assess internally and then you’ll be asked to do one Kegel contraction to check for tensions in the muscles. It’s just like checking any other muscles in your body only these ones are deep inside of you. The internal assessment should not be painful. If it’s painful, it’s a definite sign that something is going on with your body.
What is my ‘personalized plan’?
Your personalized plan is the treatment that we come up with together to get you to your health goals. Your plan works with your lifestyle. We take into account the findings of the first assessment, your weaknesses and strengths. It’s about creating something that fits into your lifestyle and how that helps you reach your goal.
Some people say they just “want to be able to walk without leaking” and so we’ll work to create exercises to work towards stopping leakage. Others are performing at a pro-athlete level and need support for high-impact sports activities. Exercises can improve core strength, abdominal strength, glute strength and it’s all tied to your personal plan.
Do I have to keep doing my exercises for the rest of my life?
Your pelvic floor muscles are in use whenever you stand and walk. Like any other kind of muscles, it’s important to stick to your ‘personalized plan’ in order to meet your health goals.
After you’ve reached your goal, it depends on your situation whether or not you should continue your exercises. Very rarely once I discharge my clients do I ask them to continue with their pelvic floor exercises. There are some people, though, who would need to do them at least once a month.
What should I be looking for in a pelvic physiotherapist?
It’s important to find the therapist that works with you so get to know them. The therapeutic relationship is important as you’ll be working together to help you achieve your health goals. I would say that you should expect to hear a thorough explanation of the assessment from your pelvic physiotherapist, an explanation of your results, and someone who is going to communicate honestly with you. Your therapist should tailor your treatments to your lifestyle. It is a very personal relationship and it is all a part of empowering yourself to be a healthier you.
Take the first step and take care of your health and wellness. Reach out to make your first appointment with our pelvic physiotherapist today.