PELVIC FLOOR ASSESSMENT
 

Prior to attending your Pelvic Floor Assessment, you will be required to read the below information. If you require further information or have any questions, please contact reception on 02 4648 3500.

WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located in the pelvis that stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone to tail bone. 


The pelvic floor muscles can be affected by:​

  • Heavy/Repetitive lifting

  • Chronic cough/sneeze

  • Pelvic surgery i.e. Endo removal, hysterectomy

  • History of back pain

  • Stress

  • Organ inflammation i.e. Cystitis, IBS

  • Infection / UTI

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Not using them

  • Age

  • Pregnancy - Delivery trauma, forceps

  • Constipation

  • Overweight

  • High intensity exercise

  • Pain in hip/pelvis

Traditionally weakness of the pelvic floor may ultimately lead to reduced control of bladder or bowel or a prolapse of the pelvic organs. However, an overactive pelvic floor may result in pain during intercourse, inflammation of organs, flareups of chronic conditions such as endometriosis or cystitis. Muscular symptoms such as hip pain or back pain may actually be the result of tight internal pelvic floor muscles. 

 

Some patients may require an assessment in the treatment of a current complaint or conversely post-natal women may want to ensure the correct function of the pelvic floor to minimise risk of dysfunction in the future or to ensure a safe return to appropriate exercise. 

WHAT IS A PELVIC FLOOR ASSESSMENT?

  • Prior to your assessment the physiotherapist will take an extensive history. It is important you provide all your relevant history during the subjective, so your therapist has all the information they require to perform an educated assessment and to formulate an individual treatment plan. Please ask as many questions as necessary so you feel comfortable and have a complete understanding of your condition, treatment and assessment options, and potential risk factors. Plastic models and diagrams will be used to best explain how the assessment will be performed. 

 

  • An internal assessment of your pelvic floor muscles is the gold standard assessment tool in assessing the function of the pelvic floor muscles. We understand that this may not be appropriate for all patients. We can work with you to try and achieve the best treatment outcomes. However, there are limitations to other methods. 

 

  • The examination will be completed in a private room. You may have a chaperone present if you wish. You will be required to undress from the waist down. 

 

  • This examination/assessment is performed by observing and/or palpating (touching) the perineal region including the rectum and/or vagina. This evaluation can assess skin conditions, reflexes, muscle tone, length, strength, endurance, scar mobility and function of the pelvic floor region. ​

 

  • Treatment may involve manual therapy such as manual releases or stretching, strengthening programs, relaxation techniques and behavioural interventions. More invasive treatment options may be required including electrical stimulation or fitting of a pessary. Treatment options will be discussed and offered on a need’s basis. 

RISKS AND BENEFITS

  • Although assessment and treatment is carried out with all due professional care and responsibility it is important to understand that in some circumstances that expected outcomes may not be achieved. 
     

  • It is important to understand there may be negative side effects to treatment including increase in physical or emotional pain or discomfort. Light bleeding or period/pain like cramps. Some individuals may experience an exacerbation of their current symptoms, or pain in pelvis, hip, low back. 
     

  • Change or increase in these symptoms should be temporary, please advise therapist if this occurs. Please document all symptoms post physiotherapy treatment even symptoms that are seemingly unrelated as they may aid the future direction of your treatment. 
     

  • No internal examination will be completed on an individual who is:

    • Currently pregnant.

    • Less than 6 weeks post-partum – who has not seen a medical professional to ensure healing or whom has not ceased bleeding. 

    • Undergone pelvic surgery and does not have clearance from their doctor. 
       

  • Other conditions related to the pelvic floor may have increased risk such as those women with current inflammation, dermatitis or extensive trauma post birth. These conditions may not prohibit you from having an examination done. However, you may be at increased risk of side effects. It is important you disclose all conditions or medical limitations that would prohibit the safe use of internal assessment and treatment approaches. 

INFORMED CONSENT

  • The term “informed consent” means that the potential risks, benefits and alternatives have been explained to you. The therapist provides a wide range of services and I understand that I have received information during appointments concerning the evaluation, treatment and options available for my condition.

 

  • I understand that I am attending an evaluation and treatment regarding pelvic health. I also understand that it may be appropriate and useful to have my therapist perform an external/internal pelvic floor examination.
     

  • I have requested assessment by Registered Physiotherapist Alyson Sommerville.

  • I understand I can give or revoke consent at any point in time to a specific aspect(s) of the assessment or treatment - within a session, and/or once the care plan has started. 
     

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form prior to the assessment taking place.