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Pelvic Health Physiotherapy – Willow Health Centre

At Willow Health Centre, our focus is to create a welcoming environment for our patients to feel empowered and to support their health in a positive, safe, and therapeutic way. We ultimately want to provide you with the education and tools you will need to succeed in your health and wellness goals.

What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?

Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is a special branch of physiotherapy that deals with assessing and treating pelvic floor muscles. Through education, manual therapy, and exercise prescription, Pelvic Health Physiotherapists successfully treat common dysfunctions such as incontinence, prolapse, sexual dysfunction, and low back pain.

What are pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that line the bottom of female and male pelvises. They have very important roles in supporting overall pelvic health, including:

  • Sphincteric control/closure of the urethra and anus to help prevent incontinence.
  • Supporting/lifting the organs within the pelvis to help prevent pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Achievement of pain free intercourse, arousal, and orgasm.
  • Venous return and lymphatic drainage to help prevent lower extremity swelling and varicose veins.
  • Stability through low back, pelvis, and hips to help prevent associated pain.

What qualifications are required to practice Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?

After becoming a Registered Physiotherapist, further training is required to perform the internal examinations necessary to effectively treat pelvic floor muscles and their related dysfunctions. Internal pelvic floor examinations are strictly regulated under the Canada Health Act. Currently, out of 7,300 physiotherapists in Ontario there are only 580 rostered to practice Pelvic Health Physiotherapy.

Common dysfunctions treated by Pelvic Health Physiotherapists:

If the pelvic floor muscles are not working optimally, the most common dysfunctions to occur are:

  • Incontinence.
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
  • Sexual dysfunction (pain with intercourse or difficulty achieving orgasm)/Pelvic pain.
  • Low back and/or hip pain.

Approximately 50% of all child-bearing women will experience pelvic health dysfunction. But, these conditions DO NOT only affect child-bearing women. Surgeries (abdominal, pelvic, low back) and hormonal changes during menopause influence pelvic health as well.

MYTH:  It is normal to have leakage during pregnancy.

MYTH:  It is normal to have leakage after having a baby.

MYTH:  It is normal to have leakage as we age.

FACT:  It is common to have leakage, but not normal. Urinary leakage is preventable and treatable.


Involuntary leakage of urine occurs in 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 9 men.


  • Urinary stress incontinence: Leakage occurring with laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping, running…etc.
  • Urinary urge incontinence: Leakage preceded by an overwhelmingly strong sensation of urgency, little warning, and you can’t make it to the bathroom on time.
  • Mixed incontinence: Combination of both and most common type.

Pelvic organ prolapse:

If the supportive role of the pelvic floor muscles is not optimal, the organs in the pelvic floor (bladder, uterus, and/or rectum) can descend in to the vaginal canal. This occurs very commonly, in 50% of women.

Common descriptions:

  • A feeling of pressure in the vagina, or the feeling that something is in the way or protruding out.
  • Discomfort, friction, or difficulty with intercourse or inserting a tampon.
  • Discomfort with impact activities such as jumping and jogging.

Associated symptoms:

  • Low back pain.
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction.
  • Sexual dysfunction.

Sexual dysfunction:

One in five women will have pelvic pain, including pain with intercourse.

Possible reasons:

  • Presence of a pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Pelvic floor muscle tightness and/or scar tissue restrictions.
  • Poor dominant muscle patterns and awareness.

Low back and/or hip pain:

There is a strong connection between low back pain and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. If the stability role of the pelvic floor muscles is not optimal and the joints of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hips are not being properly stabilized, your bodies are smart and clever and they will find another (LESS optimal) way to compensate for this. Groups of muscles doing a job that they SHOULD NOT be doing start to become OVERWORKED and can contribute to muscle soreness, increased pressure through the joints, and impingement of the nerves.

In a survey of 200 women with chronic low back pain, 78% reported incontinence.

In a survey of 1,636 patients with low back pain/pelvic girdle pain, 57% of women had pelvic floor complaints.

You can book an appointment

Online at: www.willowhealthcentre.com

OR by calling: 519.365.0122

This article (and staff photos) has been written and submitted by:
Willow Health Centre | 423 Richmond Street, Chatham, ON

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