Women’s Health

Weakness or dysfunction of the pelvic floor musculature often contributes to urinary or fecal incontinence, urinary retention, and pelvic pain. A physical therapist who has been specially trained in women’s health is the ideal health care provider to evaluate the function of these muscles as well as general posture, strength, and flexibility of other surrounding musculature. Modification of individual lifestyle habits that may be contributing to a patient’s current condition are addressed.

Benefits of physical therapy may include:

  • Improved bladder and bowel function
  • Decreased pain
  • Decreased use of protective undergarments
  • Reduction in use of medication
  • Improved surgical outcomes
  • Decreased need of surgical procedures
  • Delay of surgical procedures

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY?

At your first visit, the physical therapist will perform a musculoskeletal evaluation and design an individualized exercise program to meet your needs.

Your treatment may include:

  • An individualized exercise program
  • Strengthening and flexibility exercises
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Joint mobilization
  • Suggestions for behavioral modifications
  • Education on contributing factors
  • Postural assessment
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Modalities to decrease pain
  • Modalities to re-educate weak muscles
  • Vaginal weights
  • Bladder training

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a Women’s Health physical therapist?

A women’s health physical therapist has taken specialized training allowing him/her to evaluate and treat those conditions that are specific to a woman throughout her lifespan including incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and more. Women’s health therapists utilize this training to evaluate and develop a treatment program that is individualized for their clients.

What do I need to see a Women’s Health physical therapist?

You need a prescription or referral from your health care provider to see a physical therapist. A prescription/referral can come from your physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or chiropractor.

What should I expect from physical therapy?

At your initial appointment, the physical therapist will ask you questions about your condition including what are your symptoms, when do they occur, what makes them better or worse, and when did they begin. You will also be asked about your medical history. The therapist will use this information to perform an evaluation.

You will be given information regarding your diagnosis and the findings of your evaluation regarding posture, muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. You will be provided an individualized home exercise program which will include pelvic floor muscle training and possibly abdominal, hip, and low back strengthening and/or flexibility exercises. You may also be asked to complete a bladder diary prior to your next visit.

Please allow approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours for your first appointment. Follow-up visits will last between 30 minutes and one hour.

Feel free to bring someone with you for your appointments. Contact Jennifer Rutkowski, MPT at 314-991-0480 with any questions or concerns regarding your appointments or condition.

For more information about women’s health, please visit: WomensHealthAPTA.org

Excel Sports and Physical Therapy serves St. Louis, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, Wentzville, Warrenton and the surrounding communities.

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