Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy & Women’s Health

Edmonton's choice for pelvic floor physiotherapy

We are pleased to offer women’s pelvic health physiotherapy provided by experienced physiotherapists at both of our locations. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that serves several important functions:

  • Maintaining continence of the bladder and bowel
  • Allowing sexual function and pleasure
  • Providing support to internal organs which enables the bladder, uterus, and intestines to stay in the abdominal cavity where they belong
  • Providing support to other muscle groups including the lower back
  • Circulating the blood and other body fluids from the legs back to the trunk and heart

Test Your Pelvic Health Knowledge!

Pelvic Dysfunction

Pelvic dysfunction is very common among women, yet many are unaware or reluctant to seek help for it. You do not need to continue to live with pain and dysfunction. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help treat many forms of pelvic dysfunction including:

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles which can cause genitor-urinary dysfunction
  • Hypertonic (tight) pelvic floor muscles (which can lead to urge incontinence, discomfort during intercourse (pain with sex), and chronic pelvic and back pain
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The uterus, bladder, and/or rectum, sit lower in the pelvic cavity than they should, causing discomfort/pain, incontinence, constipation, or other issues
  • Pelvic Pain/Dysfunction: Generic term for any pain in the pelvic area. Pregnancy, labour, tone in the pelvic muscles, hypersensitivity, pain with intercourse, are but a few examples of pelvic dysfunction.
  • Stress incontinence (urinary leakage / bladder leakage associated with exertion including coughing, laughing, sneezing). If you’re more than 6 weeks post-delivery, and you are experiencing stress incontinence, this is not normal)
  • Many types of pelvic pain and dysfunction associated with pregnancy, labour, pelvic muscle weakness and trauma etc.

Bladder leakage

Bladder leakage occurs when urine is leaking at times other than when voiding or peeing. This can occur if the pelvic floor or “kegels” are weak, if the bladder has prolapsed (sitting lower in the pelvis), or if the bladder is not contracting and/or relaxing efficiently.

Exercise incontinence

The pelvic floor or "kegel" muscles help to support the bladder, vagina, uterus, and rectum. If this muscle is weak you may experience urine leakage, fecal leakage, or a heaviness associated with prolapse. Exercise places heavier stress on the pelvic floor and if it is not strong enough to support these organs this may exacerbate these symptoms.

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is leakage that occurs under stress like coughing or sneezing or increased load such as running or jumping. A strong pelvic floor or kegel muscles can help to reduce or prevent incontinence or leakage during these increased load or stress activities.

Pain with sex

Pain with intercourse or sex can be caused by tight muscles of the pelvic floor. These pelvic floor muscles or "Kegels" may have trigger points or knots in them that can be released by a women's health physiotherapist. These muscles may also be chronically tight and may need retraining to properly relax. Women can carry stress in the pelvic floor and these treatment approaches can help to decrease the tension or stress held in the pelvic floor.

Pre-natal and post-natal training

We also offer pre- and post-natal training.  Pregnancy is an optimal time to gain awareness about treating and preventing pelvic floor dysfunction before and after labour. Pelvic floor dysfunction is common in expectant mothers and those in various stages of postpartum. However, treatment is available to help you regain control, maximize function, aid in recovery, and improve your overall health.

Pelvic health physiotherapy is conducted in a one on one setting in a private room. The initial appointment typically takes 45-60 minutes.  If you just had a baby congratulations! If you can’t find child care to attend your appointment no worries, we are a child friendly clinic. 

At your initial appointment, a physiotherapist will conduct a comprehensive physical exam and discuss your treatment goals.  Once a diagnosis is made, we will help you understand the reasons for your dysfunction so you can become empowered to get better.  We will then discuss a plan of care.  Our physiotherapists are also happy to coordinate care with your MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Doula or whomever if required. Pelvic health physiotherapy treatments can include:

  • Manual Therapy to the back, abdomen and pelvis
  • Biofeedback to teach you how to contract and relax your pelvic floor (kegels)
  • The use of a bladder diary and various exercises to improve function
  • Acupuncture or functional dry needling

Pelvic Floor Physio Faq

What does an internal exam entail?

Depending on your concerns, an internal pelvic exam may consist of a vaginal exam and/or an anorectal exam. Your physiotherapist will discuss the purpose of the internal examination if they deem either/both as necessary to best guide your treatment plan. The internal exam does not use any equipment (i.e. speculum/foot stirrups), and is performed by digital palpation.

Do I have to have an internal exam?

While a complete internal pelvic exam is the gold standards in assessment and provides your physiotherapist with the most comprehensive overview of your pelvic floor, it is always your choice when it comes to your health. Your pelvic floor physiotherapist will discuss your concerns and goals with you, the anatomy and function of the pelvic floor, and what the assessment/treatment options may entail. After this, if you remain uncomfortable with having a pelvic exam, alternative options will be considered and discussed. Similarly, if at any point during the pelvic exam or subsequent pelvic floor treatments you wish to withdraw your consent you may do so.

Can I still come to my appointment if I have my period?

Yes! In some cases, it may be beneficial for your physiotherapist to assess the effect of menstruation on your symptoms, especially if you’ve noticed a correlation between your symptoms and your menstrual cycle. However, if you feel uncomfortable you can reschedule your appointment.

Can I bring my baby with me?

Absolutely!

Can I have an internal examination while pregnant?

Yes. Your therapist will be happy to conduct an internal exam after the first trimester. However, if you are told by your doctor/OBGYN/midwife that you are on pelvic rest or cannot have sexual intercourse during pregnancy then we cannot do an internal examination. That does not mean seeing a pelvic floor therapist during pregnancy is no longer beneficial – your therapist can treat concerns externally and help you enter your labor and birth as confidently as possible.

How soon after giving birth should I see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?

We recommend connecting with your pelvic floor physiotherapist after you have been cleared by your doctor/midwife at your 6 week follow up.

When is it unsafe to have an internal exam performed?

Internal examinations and treatments should be avoided if you have:

  • active hemorrhoids or infections (rectal/vaginal)
  • rectal bleeding (rectal)
  • seed implants
  • radiation injuries less than 6-12 weeks old
  • undergone pelvic surgery less than 6 weeks ago
  • undergone prolapse repair surgery less than 12 weeks ago
  • been told by your doctor or midwife that you must abstain from intercourse or internal examinations during pregnancy

Does insurance cover pelvic floor physiotherapy?

Yes! If you have physiotherapy coverage, pelvic floor physiotherapy is covered under the physiotherapy umbrella.

Do you treat vestibular/dizziness disorders?

Yes! We treat vestibular/dizziness disorders at both of our locations. Our vestibular therapists have taken advanced training to be able to accurately diagnose and treat your vestibular dysfunction. Our experienced vestibular physiotherapist are Fil and Leah (Summerside) and Carolyn (Westbrook).

If you have further questions about pelvic floor physiotherapy, contact our Westbrook location at 780-244-1095 or email carolyn@repphysio.ca. For our Summerside pelvic health therapists call 780-395-9170 or email kennedy@repphysio.ca, leah@repphysio.ca, or alanna@repphysio.ca

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Post-COVID rehab is available at REP Physio