Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Our Women’s Health physiotherapist, Annabel Pelham is experienced in treating women with a range of conditions that can effect women throughout their lives. These can be brought on during pregnancy, postnatally, during menopause and post menopause. From incontinence to vaginal pain, prolapse to pelvic floor conditions, there is growing evidence that physiotherapy can alleviate, and in many cases cure these symptoms.
Here are a few examples of the conditions we can treat:
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
Women can have a dropping of their bladder, bowel or uterus into their vagina. This can occur post-nataly, through excessive high impact exercise or obesity. Symptoms can include feeling a heaviness or dragging ache in the vagina, low back pain, difficulty and pain inserting a tampon or having sex and in more serious cases, discharge & bleeding. If you have a Stage 1 or 2 prolapse, physiotherapy can help significantly. A Stage 3 or 4 prolapse may need further medical intervention.
This can affect both men and women at different stages of life. It is accidental leaking of the bladder and can be caused by physical stress, e.g. coughing, sneezing, exercising etc. There are 2 types of urinary incontinence; stress urinary incontinence, SUI (not making it to the toilet on time) or urge urinary incontinence, UUI (not emptying the bladder properly so it becomes too full).
Faecal Incontinence, FI (leaking of gas, faeces, staining of underwear).
Increase Urinary Frequency, Urgency or Nocturia (excessive urination in the night)
Increase urinary frequency is going to the toilet more than 5-7 times a day.
Urgency is when you have a sudden, strong feeling that you have to empty your bladder straight away.
Nocturia is when you wake more than once in the night to empty your bladder.
There is also an “overactive bladder” where the bladder contracts too often and this can also cause the bladder not to empty fully.
Also known as vulvar vestibulodynia or vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS).
This is a common yet widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed problem that some women can suffer all their lives whilst searching for a treatment for their pain. Pain can be present with or without physical contact but can be experienced on penetration with intercourse, tampon use, a medical exam, riding a bicycle, wearing tights or just sitting!
The type of pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp burning sensation and this can change throughout the menstrual cycle.
Physiotherapy treatment is entirely tailored to you personally and will start with Annabel Pelham discussing with you the problems you are experiencing. She will then explain the different treatment options available to calm the contraction of the pelvic floor muscles in the area and desensitise the overactive nerve endings.
We understand that some of these conditions may feel embarrassing and difficult to discuss and therefore all sessions are conducted with great sensitivity and in complete privacy.
Your assessment will begin with a detailed history of your presenting complaints and of any previous medical conditions.
This will be followed by a physical examination of your pelvic area, abdomen and lumbar spine. If appropriate you may then be offered an internal examination to help identify the tone, strength and control of your pelvic floor muscles. Using gentle finger palpation (only if agreed by you), the soft tissue will be assessed for injury, scarring, soreness, neural sensitivity and any signs of pelvic organ prolapse.
After the findings have been discussed with you, a tailored treatment and exercise programme can be developed.