So you booked your first pelvic floor physical therapy appointment…now you are freaking out because you have zero clue of what to expect. We’ve all been there! Our pelvic health expert, and physical therapy intern, Shula, shared some insight into what that first appointment may look like, to help ease any anxiety you may have.
Is pelvic floor PT only for women?
No! Believe it or not, no matter what gender you are, you have a pelvic floor. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be for males, females, and people transitioning genders.
Will we be doing an internal exam during my very first session?
Depends on you! Your physical therapist will work with you to see if it is appropriate to do an internal exam your first session. Do not hesitate to share your concerns with them so they can help you feel comfortable, and improve your experience. If you do not feel ready for an internal exam during your first session, there is no pressure. There are plenty of ways a pelvic floor physical therapist can help you without doing an internal exam
The intake is typically an hour… will we be doing an internal exam for the WHOLE hour?
Definitely not! Internal exams typically last between 5-10 minutes. If you are uncomfortable or in pain, at any time you can ask your practitioner to stop. The rest of the time spent with your practitioner will talk about your symptoms, health conditions, and lifestyle changes to improve your pelvic health. Your physical therapist will also have you do different exercises to strengthen the muscles that need targeting.
What if I am uncomfortable talking about certain things surrounding my pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor physical therapist should make you feel comfortable to open up about the things that you are struggling with. You can share however much you feel comfortable with.
Is the internal exam going to hurt?
Ideally, the internal exam shouldn’t hurt, but it all depends on what condition you are getting treatment for. For example, if you have vaginismus, endometriosis, or any condition that causes pelvic pain- you might want to expect to feel a little bit of pain, as we work through the root of the problem. Of course, if the pain is too much to handle, or things do not feel right- you can ask your doctor to stop. Your pain should not be worse than it was when you came in.
Do you use any devices?
Not typically. We perform internal exams by placing one finger digitally which lasts 5-10 minutes. When appropriate, your physical therapist may recommend devices for home that may be recommended for your treatment such as vaginal dilators or pelvic wands. Everyone is different, and while some people may need devices, others may not.
What is an internal exam? What are you looking for?
With consent, your physical therapist will place a finger into your vagina. They will test your pelvic strength, endurance, and coordination, and check for tension in any of your pelvic muscles. This will give your provider a better idea of how your body is functioning and the exercises you can do to improve your pelvic health.
Do I need to shave down there? Will my pelvic floor physical therapist judge me?
No need to do anything differently “down there”! There is no judgment from your physical therapist– trust us, we have seen it all.
Do I need a referral from my doctor to go to pelvic floor physical therapy?
Yes, we need a prescription for pelvic floor physical therapy to ensure that you have been cleared for internal work. Clearance is typically for patients post-surgery, post-childbirth, or any other procedure or history pertinent to your pelvic health. It is recommended to see an OBGYN or a primary care doctor to get a referral.
Can I still go to pelvic floor physical therapy when I am on my period?
Of course, you can! We most likely won’t do internal work but there are plenty of other aspects of pelvic health we can address without performing internal work. This includes; pelvic corrections, external manual therapy around the pelvis, pelvic stability exercises, and more!
What conditions can pelvic floor physical therapy help with?
Some conditions pelvic floor physical therapy can help with include:
If you are looking to learn more about how pelvic floor physical therapy can help you manage your health, request a FREE 15 Minute Consult with one of our physios.