Pelvic Floor Health
Urinary incontinence is perhaps the most widely experienced, least addressed issue in health and wellbeing.
This can occur as early as your teen years and especially after giving birth or undergoing prostate surgery. One-third of New Zealand women after childbirth and 1.1 million New Zealanders are affected by urinary incontinence.
It can be mild (occasional leakage of small amounts) or severe (daily leakage, wearing pads and avoiding normal activities/sports). One thing is for sure, while it is common this is not normal. You no longer have to tolerate this or suffer in silence; we have great success rates with treating these conditions (an 80% CURE rate for stress urinary incontinence!) It is not just incontinence that we address with our pelvic floor health services. We address all realms of pelvic floor dysfunctions that also greatly impact many New Zealanders. Did you know that 50% of women post menopause have a pelvic organ prolapse? Or that up to 10-18% of women have a pain disorder like vestibulodynia that often starts in the teens or 20s? Endometriosis is another condition that can cause significant pelvic pain and impacts approximately 10% of women.
What exactly do we mean by pelvic floor dysfunction?
The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can include:
- Increased frequency of urination, during the day and/or night
- Urgency (sudden and uncontrollable desire to go to the toilet)
- Urge incontinence (leaking before you can get to the toilet)
- Stress incontinence (leaking associated with activity, change of position, laughing, coughing, sneezing, running)
- Finding it difficult to fully empty your bladder or bowels, including constipation
- Accidentally losing control of your bowels, including uncontrolled passing of wind or stool
- A feeling of a bulge in the vagina, or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling or dragging in the vagina, rectum or pelvis
- Low back pain that can’t be explained by other causes
- Pelvic pain- this can be more globally or more specific to an area of the pelvis (pelvic girdle, buttock or tailbone) or associated with bowel and bladder functions
- Pain with sexual intercourse or difficulty with penetration Concerns during pregnancy or post-natal time frames
When to seek treatment
- Anyone with weakness or damage to the pelvic floor muscles and who is experiencing any of the symptoms described above
- Ante-natal and postnatal women- especially for women who have experienced a complicated birthing process
- Women who are post-menopausal or who have had a history of gynaecological surgery
- Anyone who has done regular heavy lifting or has a history of back pain that has not been improved with regular MSK physio
- Anyone with a history of chronic respiratory conditions or chronic constipation
- Elite or high-performance athletes, particularly those in high impact sports like running, netball, basketball or gymnastics
- Men and women who experience pelvic pain in the bladder or rectal area, experience nerve-type burning pain, or pain during sexual intercourse
- Men who have had prostate surgery, or concerns with erectile dysfunction
What to expect when you come to see us?
At Habit Health, we have skilled physiotherapist’s who can work with you to assess and then treat your pelvic health concerns. During your first visit, your physiotherapist will go through a thorough history and do an assessment of your pelvic floor function. Depending on their training, the physiotherapist will either use Real Time Ultrasound to assess your pelvic floor muscles and help you to understand how to facilitate these muscles, or do a physical examination with your consent. With your input they will develop an overall management plan for your rehabilitation programme that is tailored specifically to each individual. This will include education, instruction on a home programme to address your specific concerns, and treatment that is appropriate for your condition. Our aim is to get you back to living your best life and we are honoured with you trusting us to help you along your journey.