Noticing symptoms of a tight, weakened, or uncoordinated pelvic floor? Then a pelvic floor evaluation might be right for you. I (Dr. Anjelica) know that talking about pelvic floor issues is intimidating and uncomfortable. That’s why we at Yoder Physical Therapy want you to know what to expect ahead of your appointment so you can have the most success. I believe in normalizing these problems that many people experience so they can find the best solution, too!
Who Needs a Pelvic Floor Evaluation?
How do you know that you might need a pelvic floor evaluation? Having issues with your pelvic floor isn’t uncommon and impacts almost one in four women. Pelvic floor issues include:
Pain During Intercourse
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Cesarean/Perineal Scar Pain
Other Pelvic Floor Issues
Whether you're referred by a doctor or coming here on your own, know that we can find a way to fix these issues together!
Before Your Appointment
By learning more about you before our meeting, I can start forming a plan before our appointment. I’ll send you a questionnaire and consent forms to fill out via email. The questionnaire covers the symptoms you’re experiencing, so I know how to treat them. This also includes a consent form for an internal and external pelvic floor muscle exam, as I want to make sure you are comfortable with the exam. It is only performed with patient consent and does not have to be performed on the first day or at all. I encourage you to do what you are most comfortable with. The goal is to help you get better, and you’re a part of that process! We can still have an excellent and informative evaluation without the internal exam.
During the Evaluation
When you arrive at our appointment, I’ll first read over the questionnaire you filled out. That way, I can tailor our conversation based on your unique concerns. Plan for a 90-minute evaluation where I will address the full body, your symptoms, and form a plan that is good for you. During each step of the evaluation, I’ll explain what I’m doing and can answer any of your questions.
First things first: let's make sure we get to know each other so we can get comfortable. We’ll go over your questionnaire, including all your concerns as well as your goals. Once I have an idea of what to look for, we’ll move on to a physical evaluation.
Part of the pelvic floor evaluation includes your posture. Everything from slumping your shoulders to tilting your pelvis can have a negative impact on your pelvic floor muscles. Your posture can be caused by a weakened pelvic floor and even a cause of it!
When you use your diaphragm for breathing, your pelvic muscles are also involved. Because the diaphragm muscle expands, it pushes everything else down with it – including your pelvic floor. Evaluating your breathing pattern can help me identify any weakness in your muscles.
Diastasis Recti (Pregnancy or Postpartum)
Most women experience diastasis recti during and after pregnancy. Diastasis muscle abdominis (DRA) is a stretching of the linea alba that connects your 6 pack muscle. This occurs in 100% of women by their third trimester of pregnancy. Postpartum, you might notice that your core muscles aren’t as strong as they once were. While healing time of a diastasis is different for each women, pelvic floor physical therapy can help in this process. It is never too late to work on your diastasis, wether 1 year postpartum or 5 years.
Flexibility in the Core, Back, and Hips
Are you experiencing back pain or muscle tightness? I’ll do a few movements to test the flexibility in your core, back, and hips. Low flexibility or tight muscles can have an impact on other parts of your body, including the pelvic muscles.
Internal and External Vaginal Exam
We only do this step with your consent. I’ll evaluate the pelvic floor muscles through the vaginal opening internally to test muscle strength and feel for any muscle tightness. This step allows me to evaluate the pelvic muscles directly but isn’t necessary for your success. If needed, a rectal internal exam may be discussed as an option.
Your functional movement boils down to your mobility and stability. By knowing your abilities, I can find the best exercises for you. We’ll check your balance and movement patterns so I can make sure the exercises and therapy I provide are the right ones.
Form a Plan
At the end of your pelvic floor evaluation, we’ll talk about what I found and what is recommended for the next steps. We will discuss areas of focus, your priorities, and how we can get you back to feeling confident and strong. We’ll make a plan for how often to see each other, usually about once a week but everyone is different
I’ll give you exercises that you can do at home between appointments. My goal is to help you take control of your physical therapy! I'll educate and inform you so that you know the purpose of each movement. Consistency is critical, and before you know it, you’ll start to see improvements. We’ll meet up to measure your progress and address anything that’s not working. Not everything works for everyone, and I’ll make sure you’re on the right track.