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Every week, when assessing patients who have come for help with pelvic floor dysfunction, I find women who have significant muscle or nerve damage to their pelvic floor. This results in either a very weak muscle contraction or a sensory deficit such that they cannot ‘feel’ a pelvic floor muscle contraction even if they may be able to make the muscle contract. For some women, their inability to sense accurately what is happening ‘down there’ results in an incorrect activation and leads to them ‘bearing down’ with the muscles instead of achieving the correct ‘lift and squeeze’ of the pelvic floor muscles or the levator ani.
This is the bread and butter of a why every woman can benefit from sourcing a Continence and Women’s Health physiotherapist (*) in their local area. Reading either of my books: Pelvic Floor Recovery: A Physiotherapy Guide for Gynaecological Repair Surgery and Pelvic Floor Recovery Essentials will provide you with the important education regarding good bladder and bowel habits, travel advice, help with sexual dysfunction, pelvic floor safe exercising and ‘the how to’ of performing pelvic floor muscle training. However, the assessment and feedback to you as the patient, from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, will certainly ensure you are performing the exercises correctly and ultimately will improve your outcome especially if you are having surgery in the future or indeed if you have already had your repair surgery.
I know you may feel daunted and find it very confronting to see a physio about your pelvic floor muscles, but having that internal examination will be invaluable regarding feedback to you and will enable you to accurately find the muscles and embark on a safe, correct, lifetime exercise programme.
* To Find a Physio near you go to the link, enter your post code, that you are after a Continence and Women’s Health physio and a within a 200 km radius and then you can choose someone near you.
The Continence Foundation of Australia is the peak organization dealing with continence and they have a register of physiotherapists who have a special interest in pelvic floor function also.