What should I look out for when choosing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?

I have had a few emails and messages recently from women who don’t live in the area (I’m based in Cheshire) and want to find a Women’s Health Physiotherapist close to them.

I thought it would be useful to write my thoughts in a blog for anyone who might need it.

There are a few things to consider:

  • This might sound obvious, but make sure the physiotherapist that you chose has skills in internal examination and treatment. There are physios out there claiming to treat pelvic floor conditions without doing internal assessment. Internal assessment is really important if you have pelvic floor problems – how else do you know what’s happening down there if it’s not assessed?
  • Experience – it is usually best to choose someone who has been working in the specialism for a long time. Experience brings knowledge, and knowledge brings better care and treatment. I have been working in the specialism for over 10 years and have assessed and treated hundreds of women, but I’m still learning every day. It’s a complex area and you need to be sure your physiotherapist is highly skilled to allow you to have the best assessment and treatment.
  • What is your end goal? How important is this goal? Think about this and talk to your physiotherapist about it at your first session. For example, if you want to be able to run a marathon without bladder leakage you need to discuss this at the first session! Will the physio work with you to help to try and reach this goal?
  • You need to be sure you are comfortable with your physio. So often, the women that attend my clinic talk about the importance of ‘clicking with their physio’. If you are having issues with your pelvic floor, you will be discussing some really intimate things and you will be likely to have an internal examination. It’s always a good idea to check the physio out before hand – look at their website, check their social media page (if they have one), talk to others who might have been to see the physio. Call the physio if you want to have a chat with them before considering booking in. Get a feel for them because it needs to ‘feel right’! (In my experience, most pelvic floor physiotherapists are lovely though!)
  • Virtual appointments – appointments over video have become common practice with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. You may now find that a lot of pelvic floor physiotherapists are offering these as well as face-to-face sessions. Yes, a pelvic floor examination cannot be done over video (and yes an examination is really important as I have already said!), but there are quite a few things that can be achieved over video. So perhaps think about a virtual appointment if you really want to have a session with a particular physio. That way you could literally see any physio in the world!

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Based on the most recent guidance, Female Focus is able to offer face to face consultations where clinically appropriate and necessary. The aim is to protect the physiotherapist, patients, and the wider community across all of the decisions.

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