FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common questions we are asked about what to expect at an initial pelvic floor related physiotherapy appointment and their respective answers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get you the information as soon as possible.
Be assured that we will do our best to put you at ease. Our mission is to help you regain your pelvic floor function and improve your overall quality of life with integrity, devotion, and compassion.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT MY FIRST CONSULT?
Despite how common pelvic floor dysfunction is, it can still be embarrassing for many people to discuss their issues with a medical professional. At Jenny Boyce Physiotherapy we are accustomed to discussing these issues and we will do our best to put you at ease. Please allow one hour for your first appointment. The key priorities at your first appointment are to get an accurate understanding of what you're experiencing, so that we can make an accurate diagnosis and know how best to help you.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
If you have a referral letter from your GP, Specialist or Allied Health Professional, please bring this, along with any relevant medical reports and a list of all your prescription and non-prescription medication. If you have a private health insurance card, bring this with you also. Please wear comfortable clothing.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
It can be useful to think and write a list about what you might want to discuss with us, including:
How long you've had the problem and whether it is improving or becoming worse.
What you've tried to do to improve things so far, and whether that has helped.
Whether you have problems with your bladder, bowel, sexual problems or maybe a combination of these issues.
Any past medical problems, including childbirth history and any previous operations.
WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS WILL I BE ASKED?
We may ask:
What is the problem that is bothering you the most?
About your bladder function, including how often you go to the toilet during the day and night, if you leak urine (and if so, how much and how often), if you feel you have to rush to the toilet on time and the kind of symptoms you have when urinating, including any pain or feelings of incomplete emptying.
About your bowel function, including how often you empty the bowel, whether you find this difficult or painful, the consistency of your bowel motions, any loss of control from the bowel or any sense of having to rush to get to the toilet on time.
Your childbirth history, including how many children you've had, the types of deliveries and the weight of the babies.
If you have any symptoms of prolapse, including a feeling of something dropping internally or heaviness, lump or bulging inside the vagina or rectum.
Questions about sexual intercourse, including whether you find it painful or if you have any difficulties or concerns.
About your medical history, including current medical problems, the medications you are taking and any past operations.
What you do for work and in your leisure time, so we can understand how your problem may be impacting on your daily life.
If you already know about your pelvic floor muscles and their function. We will provide you with information on this before an examination is performed, so you understand where you will be examined and why.
WHAT KIND OF EXAMINATIONS WILL BE PERFORMED?
When seeing us for incontinence or pelvic floor dysfunction, it is likely that at some stage we will need to examine your pelvic floor muscles.
A physical examination of the pelvis helps to determine whether the problem is caused by pelvic muscles that are overactive or underactive. In a small number of cases the problem is related to overactive pelvic muscles, so doing too many pelvic floor exercises can actually lead to increased pain and make emptying the bladder and bowel more difficult. so it’s important to ensure a thorough examination is completed if possible to diagnose and treat your problem to our best ability. This will commonly occur at the first appointment, but not always.
We will always ask you for permission before any examination, and you have the right to say no.
At Jenny Boyce Physiotherapy we do not perform pelvic floor examinations during a patient's pregnancy, however thorough pelvic floor muscle education and external pelvic examination will still be offered.
QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE FOR YOUR PHYSIO
You should never worry about asking us too many questions. We're here to help. Some questions you might consider asking us are:
What do you think my issue is?
What has caused my issue?
What kind of treatment will help me and how long will it take for things to improve?
How many appointments will I need and how often?
What if I have my period? (You can still attend your appointment.)
What can I do to help myself?
If I don't do anything, will my problem get worse or better by itself?
In most cases a home exercise program to help retrain the pelvic floor muscles (whether it be to strengthen, assist coordination, or to aid relaxation) will be prescribed which will improve how well the muscles function overall. Education and lifestyle modifications may also be suggested, such as adopting healthy bladder and bowel habits, losing weight, quitting smoking, altering exercise and reducing heavy lifting. In addition, biofeedback training, electrical stimulation and internal manual therapies may also be offered to assist pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Acknowledgements: Adapted from 'Ask a Physio: APA Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist Jenny Phillips'
www.continence.org.au / Winter 2019 / Bridge Magazine
These resources are provided for general informational/educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. For more information, get in touch with us today or consult your qualified medical and/or health professional.