Pelvic Health

All Ages
Sports, Lifestyle and Leisure
Peak Confidence!

What We Do

Pelvic Health Physiotherapy at PHYSELITE is here to help athletes of all levels reach their fitness goals. Our mission is for every client to work and play at their favourite pursuits with full confidence in their ability to be agents of their own pelvic health.

Why Pelvic Health Matters

Pelvic health problems in high-performance athletes are common, but often go unrecognized or ignored. Bladder leakage (urinary incontinence) is a common condition among athletes who train in high-impact or ballistic sports and activities. Pelvic organ prolapse is another condition which can be worsened with poor exercise technique and muscular function. As well, muscular dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles can contribute to muscle imbalances for the core muscles of the abdomen and spine, and can be a factor in common complaints such as back pain, soft tissue strains, abdominal weakness, diastasis rectus abdominis (abdominal separation) and other physical impairments.

During exercise, symptoms like pelvic pain, leakage, and bulging/pressure are like the ’alarm bells’ for the pelvic floor muscles. When we have overexerted in an activity, these symptom bells ring as a way of letting us know. In other words, when we have exceeded our pelvic floor’s ability to efficiently execute a movement or exercise, the signs are there. The pelvic floor, along with its surrounding support structures can be properly evaluated and addressed as part of an integrated care plan at PHYSELITE. For those who are symptom-free, preventative care can be accessed through FACET (Female Athlete Core Evaluation & Treatment) sessions.

Your Pelvic Health Team

The Pelvic Health program is led by physiotherapist Andrea Meade and, depending on your health goals, may also include any of the rehabilitation and fitness professionals at PHYSELITE. Andrea has over 18 years of experience as a Physiotherapist. Andrea provides detailed assessment of pelvic health concerns, and designs customized rehabilitation programs to meet pelvic health goals. She teaches a wide repertoire of movement skills and strategies, with an emphasis on transferability to high-performance sport, recreational fitness and personal care.

What to Expect

Pelvic Health Physiotherapy relates to assessment and treatment of the musculoskeletal structures of the spine, abdomen, pelvis and hips, as well as those that support bladder, bowel and sexual function. A standard assessment involves an evaluation of function in those areas. Physiotherapists assess using questionnaires, observation of posture and movement, as well as manual (“hands-on”) tests of muscle function.

How is the Pelvic Floor assessed?

The pelvic floor is an important soft-tissue structure containing key muscles that help with trunk/pelvic support, and bladder/bowel function. A significant portion of the pelvic floor is located inside the pelvic cavity, and this is why an internal assessment may be recommended. The internal assessment is a clean procedure done manually (hands-on) with gloves, either via the vagina or rectum. All clients are given a few minutes of extra time and privacy to prepare, and are draped for their comfort during the entire procedure. It takes about 5 minutes to complete the assessment of the pelvic floor. The physiotherapist strives to make this as gentle and efficient a procedure as possible. It is important for each client to respect his or her own comfort level during every part of the assessment. The physiotherapist will adjust the assessment to suit each person’s individual needs.

What Does Treatment Look Like?

You can expect to learn basic anatomy, physiology and function related to your area of concern, as well as tips on how to manage and reduce bothersome symptoms. Modalities such as manual therapy and electrotherapy may also be recommended for early care. The active rehabilitation program begins with therapeutic exercise taught by the physiotherapist, and may evolve to include mat work, body weight exercises, and weight lifting under the guidance of a Rehabilitation Assistant or Certified Trainer. Clients can expect to return to full or modified fitness programs with the knowledge and confidence to keep pelvic issues at bay.

FACET (Female Athlete Core Evaluation and Treatment)

The statistics tell the story: at least 1 in 3 women will experience urinary incontinence (UI) in her lifetime. Women are at an increased risk for reasons related to pregnancy/childbearing, and other physiological changes throughout the lifespan. As many as 45% of women who train at high levels - especially in high-impact sports - experience UI.
We aim to educate female athletes in how to identify and prevent early symptoms through FACET (Female Athlete Core Evaluation & Treatment) sessions. Through the FACET session, the female athlete will come away with an enhanced understanding of the structure and function of her core, and any areas to be aware of in her sport of choice.

Free 20-minute consultation

We recognize that we probably have the answers to some of your most embarrassing fitness and exercise questions. We have a very strict ’ask anything’ policy - especially if it pertains to something that is getting in the way of your progress and confidence.
The 20-minute consultation is offered free-of charge to anyone else who may want guidance and information about a particular pelvic health concern prior to booking a pelvic health physiotherapy assessment. This confidential session is a way to exchange information, discuss goals, and explore the physiotherapy approach to pelvic health. It’s a great way to learn some basic anatomy, physiology and self-care tips for your issue, as well as learn more about how we work as an integrated care team at PHYSELITE. Let’s talk about a ‘roadmap’ for your care and help get you moving toward your goals!

Client Stories:

- Varsity Volleyball player
I had been working with MSK PT and AT for a month. As a preventative measure, I recommended that my entire team attend the FACET program for assessment and education. I had been experiencing mild urinary incontinence triggered by jumping/landing since high school, but my teammates and I always made a joke of it. I knew that many women on my team had been experiencing the same thing. I was not aware that it was a sign of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction until I learnt about pelvic anatomy and function from the Pelvic Health PT. I was given simple strategies for reducing my symptoms, and I was scheduled for a follow up visit with the Pelvic Health PT 1 month later. I noticed improvement in my symptoms within 6 weeks. I was so pleased with my progress I encouraged my teammates to get assessed. Two of them have followed my advice so far and are pleased with their progress.
- Office Worker
I am an avid weight-lifter and kickboxer. I had been experiencing a gradual onset of pelvic symptoms in the last six months, including frequent urination and discomfort during intercourse. I was referred to a urologist, who found that my symptoms were suspicious for pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. The urologist referred me to the local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist for assessment and treatment. I participated in a virtual physiotherapy assessment with Andrea, and was helped to understand how my symptoms were related to my squat-lifting technique and voiding habits. I was given a home exercise program to help relieve my symptoms, with a plan to begin retraining my squat-lifting technique at the next visit. My treatment plan included working with both the Kinesiologist and strength coaches to reach my weight-lifting goals.
- Security Professional
Lisa is a 49 year old working mother of 2 teenage kids. Her job as a security professional involves running and heavy lifting. Eight weeks ago she underwent elective surgery for pelvic organ prolapse and has been placed under activity restrictions by her surgeon. She has returned to her primary MSK PT for advice on how to prepare to meet her job testing requirements The MSK PT quickly realizes this is outside his scope of practice and refers Lisa to the Pelvic Health Physiotherapist for a consultation. The two physiotherapists work collaboratively, with the Pelvic PT setting the baseline from which the MSK PT designed the active program. The MSK PT feels reassured that the guidelines the Pelvic Health Physiotherapist will provided will help him design an appropriate active rehab program that takes into account Lisa’s history, goals, and restrictions.

Excellence Through Integration