You’ve already read all about WHY pelvic health is also important for men, now let’s dive into a case study!

Case Study – Male Pelvic Health

CT is a 43 year old male seeking help because he is having problems with leaking urine whenever he does physical activity. He has also been experiencing consistent sharp/burning pains around his rectal area. In the beginning he was leaking only a few drops of urine and feeling slight discomfort in his pelvic floor… but after a few months CT is leaking his full bladder and his pain has greatly increased. He is afraid to participate in golf, fishing, and jogging because this is when he leaks the most urine.

During the pelvic assessment it is found that CT has a weak pelvic floor (2/5 strength), and a lot of tension/tightness of his pelvic floor muscles. He is educated that he needs to strengthen his pelvic muscles in order to close his urethra (tube which pee comes out), so that he does not leak before he is able to get to the bathroom, or when participating in golf, fishing, and jogging. CT also requires training in relaxation exercises, and stretches for his pelvic floor, which will decrease the tightness and therefore stop the pain that he has been experiencing.

After the assessment CT is sent home with a breathing exercise, several pelvic floor stretches, and a muscle strengthening exercise.

At the next session CT reports having decreased episodes of leaking and reduced pain in his pelvic area. During a follow up evaluation CT now has 3/5 pelvic strength and a decrease in muscle tension. The therapist manually releases his pelvic muscles and he is once again sent home with progressed pelvic floor strengthening exercises and stretches.

After a few more weeks and 2 or 3 more sessions CT is no longer leaking and feels no more pain and discomfort in his pelvic floor. He is educated to keep up with his exercise program occasionally to maintain strength and proper length of his pelvic floor.

 

Not all pelvic health issues will present the exact same, and as such there is no one-size fits all program that will work for everyone. Need help with your pelvic health complaint? Don’t hesitate to contact us or book an appointment. Not sure if your issues can be helped by a physiotherapist? Give us a call, or send a message, we are happy to help you sort through it.

Book a pelvic health assessment with Scott

Book an orthopedic assessment with Scott

Scott Golding is a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist that has a special interest in male pelvic health and rehabilitation. He is passionate about advocating and supporting men in their pelvic health journey. He has completed the U of S Level 1 and Pelvic Health Solutions courses for pelvic health Level 2, and 3 in addition to orthopedic and integration of pain science courses. He has been working with both women and men for pelvic health and orthopedic issues since graduating in 2016.

 

He is driven to provide excellent care in a safe and comfortable environment for his patients. Scott believes that pelvic floor health needs to be a fundamental aspect of a healthy life, as many individuals struggle in silence. 

 

“My future goals include becoming a strong support and resource for men as it relates to pelvic, and general health. I want to help decrease and remove the stigma associated with male pelvic health and provide exceptional resources for men who need or are seeking help.”

As a pelvic health therapist one of the biggest questions I get is – wait, WHAT exactly do you do?!

For an adult (age 18+) pelvic health assessment there is a wide variability as to what this will look like, but for a general appointment you can expect for us to ask a detailed history – and this will include some really thought provoking questions for many! The questions and history will vary slightly depending on the issue that you are coming in with (leaking, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, etc) but the basics will all be covered. I want to know… What are you coming in for, what is the story behind it? Is this getting better/worse? What have you tried to date? (remember, pelvic health therapy is more than kegels!) Your OBGYN history (kids, how they were delivered, when, how big, instruments, length of labor/pushing, etc). Bladder & bowel history (all about voiding patterns, changes, etc) among others.

Once we are done all the questions, and we get an idea of what you are hoping to accomplish, we will complete a physical exam as well. Looking at how you move (walking, squats, etc) may be completed, and abdominal evaluation (diastasis recti, coordination and palpation).

When explaining to people what we do throughout the day we often get these skeptical looks!

In the majority of cases for adult pelvic health we will also aim to complete a pelvic exam**. In order to be a pelvic health physiotherapist, we have additional coursework that allows us to be certified to complete these exams. We check for reflexes and sensation, movement and positioning of the pelvic floor, as well as muscle contractility and pelvic organ position. Muscle coordination between the pelvic floor and rest of the abdominal muscles is also evaluated (what happens when someone coughs or creates what we call a valsalva maneuver). In some instances, usually not on the first day, there may be an indication to evaluate the client in standing as well.

**In some instances when individuals are experiencing pelvic pain conditions, a complete pelvic health evaluation may not be achieved on the first appointment – and this is ok! We do not need to push through pain in order to get the process going, so there is no need to “grin and bear it” for these appointments, we want to know if something is uncomfortable! There are also instances where a pelvic exam is not appropriate which is evaluated on a case by case basis. It is important to remember that there is always an option to not complete a pelvic health exam at an appointment, with careful consideration with your provider we want to ensure you get the best treatment in a fashion that is suitable for you.

What you will head home with for homework will be dependent on what exactly we find (tightness, weakness, coordination issues, etc) to get you starting your road to resolving your particular issue or issues, but each person will have a unique plan to achieve their goals!

Many people come to their appointments worried about how things will go, anxious it will be awkward, and end up leaving feeling relieved and confident in their plan. As pelvic health therapists we do our best to keep you comfortable and provide the education you need to really take control.

Start your road to recovery today! Book an appointment with one of our therapists!

Have questions? Feel free to send us a message and we will do our best to help you get your answers!

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. She officially added to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. Haylie has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic since opening in 2014. She now adds to this education and treatment provision her knowledge and experience in pediatric pelvic health providing workshops and presentations in addition to assessment and treatment. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, the ABEX Young Entrepreneur Award Recipient in 2018, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.

 

 

As with many issues, often we aren’t sure if what we are experiencing is normal and expected, if it will just go away, or if we need to have it looked at. For many women who are pregnant and postpartum, this is made even more difficult as we are often told that symptoms we are experiencing are normal because “you’ve had kids” and that “this is just how it is now” which can delay effective treatment of these issues! Here you can see a case study on Prolapse, which outlines some of the issues that someone may experience.

The presenting symptoms:

A 31 year old woman attends the clinic mentioning a history of intermittent pelvic floor heaviness “feeling like things are falling down” and discomfort. She has noticed that the heaviness has been worse since starting back with weight lifting at her gym 1 month ago. She has two children ages 2 years and 4 months old.  She had continued to go to the gym throughout her pregnancy (symptom free), but notes she had reduced her weights somewhat during her third trimester.

She hadn’t returned to the gym until now, as her life has been quite busy since the delivery of her second child! No pelvic floor pain, urinary or fecal incontinence is reported.  She had felt like now was a good time in her life to return to the gym and is quite devastated at this setback. Going to the gym and working out had been an

important part of her life-mentally, socially and physically and she is worried she won’t be able to do any activity at all anymore.

She went to see her family physician as was concerned about her symptoms and was referred to pelvic floor physiotherapy for prolapse. She reports no symptoms first thing in the morning, but these progressively worsen as the day goes on.  Some days are better than others with her symptoms.  Lifting weights at her gym and lifting her children aggravate her symptoms.  She notes she did just get over a bad cold and had been coughing/sneezing quite a lot during the past month. She also identifies that she has always had issues with constipation.  Both of her deliveries were vaginal with no instrumentation (forceps or vacuum) or complications. She is currently breastfeeding.

Assessment and Treatment

The client was assessed with an internal pelvic examination by a pelvic floor physical therapist. A Grade 1 cystocele was found. (A cystocele means the prolapse was from the bladder descending into the wall of the vagina and a Grade 1 prolapse means the organ descent was halfway to the vaginal opening). The pelvic floor muscles were weak with a Gr. 2 strength (a weak squeeze and no lift of the pelvic floor muscles) and tight.

The client and the therapist worked together to increase her pelvic floor strength and coordination, as well as to optimize her intraabdominal pressure management systems. Toileting positions and discussion around constipation management were discussed and the client was able to implement these at home. Optimizing postures during breastfeeding and throughout the day were discussed to reduce strain on the pelvic floor and discussed on how to successfully get them implemented at home.  Education on anatomy of the pelvic floor and the pelvic organs/their supports as well as POP was provided which will help the client to take control and understand the why behind the recommendations.

Activity modifications were implemented but keeping her active was part of the plan and exercises were progressed as appropriate.  The client returned to her gynecologist for a pessary fitting to use intermittently during heavier weight lifting at the gym. She was seen in follow up 2 weeks after the initial assessment and then 1x/month for 6 months. She was able to return to her weight lifting and was symptom free with all tasks and activities at the conclusion of therapy, although her Grade 1 prolapse remained.

Have you been struggling with prolapse symptoms? Not sure if your symptoms could be part of prolapse, please feel free to contact us and we will help chat you through what you are experiencing as best we can.

Don’t delay start your road to recovery today!

Maja Stroh is a physiotherapist that has a particular interest in pelvic health and perinatal care. She graduated from the U of S MPT program in 2009 and has been working with pelvic health populations since 2013. Maja’s interest in helping her clients and spending quality time with her family has brought her to Warman Physio where she will be providing services in the Saskatoon and Warman locations.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when one or more of the pelvic organs descend from its normal anatomical position from within the pelvic girdle. This can most commonly include the bladder, the urethra, the uterus or the rectum.

There are many types of prolapse, and these will have various names depending on the organ or organs that have descended or alternatively where the prolapse has occurred within the pelvic cavity.

The severity of the prolapse (how far the organ or organs have descended) will also likely be noted by your health care practitioner; usually on a scale of Grade 0-Grade 4 or stage 0- IV depending on the quantification system used. A prolapse can occur inside the pelvic cavity, or can protrude outside of the vaginal opening.  The higher the grade or stage of prolapse, the more the prolapse has descended towards or out of the vaginal opening. The severity of organ descent does not always correlate to symptom severity however. There are those who have minor objective prolapses when assessed by a health care provider but note significant prolapse symptoms, while others with more significant objective descent of the organs may have barely any symptoms at all.

The pelvic floor muscles, as well as the pelvic fascia/connective tissues support the pelvic organs. Repeated pressures from strain (which typically occurs on a relaxed pelvic floor) and valsalva (which is a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, mouth and nose) to these structures can worsen the descent of prolapse. 1

Some activities/conditions that can cause increased strain/valsalva to the pelvic floor and which are risk factors for POP are: vaginal delivery, having a chronic respiratory condition, as well as chronic constipation.2,3,4   Prolapse symptoms can worsen following activities such as heavy or repetitive lifting (like carrying children all day!!) Symptoms are often worse later in the day as the effects of gravity become more noticeable.

The symptoms of POP can vary. Some of these symptoms include heaviness or discomfort in the vagina, difficulty with constipation, difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel completely, urinary or fecal incontinence, difficulty with insertion of tampons, discomfort during sex, and irritation of exposed vaginal tissue.

The literature supports physical therapy and pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) as an effective way to conservatively manage POP symptoms and severity of organ descent. 5,6   Physical therapy can help by giving clients strategies to help manage their intraabdominal pressure systems during activities that increase pressure and strain to the pelvic organs and pelvic floor such as lifting, carrying, coughing, jumping, sneezing, etc.  Often ‘The Knack’ is a technique taught where the client performs a pelvic floor contraction prior to an activity that would cause a significant increase in intraabdominal pressure to help decrease the strain to the pelvic floor.  A pelvic floor physical therapist will perform an internal pelvic exam to assess the strength and tone of the pelvic floor as well as grade the prolapse. If there are other issues found during the assessment such as incontinence or pain, those will also be addressed.  Education regarding toileting positions and evacuation techniques to decrease strain on the pelvic floor can be discussed. The physical therapist will also work with the client to help progress them back to their functional and fitness goals and how to modify tasks where needed.

For those whose POP symptoms continue to bother them despite doing some PFMT or those wishing to pursue sports where there may be increased pressures placed on the pelvic floor, a pessary may be a good conservative option. A pessary is a device that is placed in the vagina to help provide support and manage prolapse symptoms by preventing or lessening the descent of the pelvic organs. There are many different types of pessary available depending on the type of prolapse. Usually urogynaecologists, gynaecologists and nurse practitioners fit pessaries, however in some provinces pelvic floor physiotherapists are able to fit and follow these clients.

Others whom have more severe symptoms or severity of POP may choose surgery as an option. The type of treatment for prolapse will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms, the grade of prolapse, as well as client preference.

Conservative management and strategies learned with a pelvic health therapist can be helpful even for those that choose surgical management of their prolapse in resolving some of the pressure management issues that lead to POP.

Maja Stroh is a physiotherapist that has a particular interest in pelvic health and perinatal care. She graduated from the U of S MPT program in 2009 and has been working with pelvic health populations since 2013. Maja’s interest in helping her clients and spending quality time with her family has brought her to Warman Physio where she will be providing services in the Saskatoon and Warman locations.

 

 

 

 

 

Maja has a particular interest in the assessment and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and is available in Saskatoon and Warman.

Our team consists of three pelvic health therapists to assist you including Maja, Kendra, & Haylie.

References:

  1. Tumbarello, J.A., Hsu, Y., Lewicky-Gaupp, C., Rohrer, S., & DeLancey, J.O. (2010). Do repetitive Valsalva maneuvers change maximum prolapse on dynamic MRI?. International Urogynecology Journal, 21 (10), 1247-1251.
  2. Mant, J., Painter, R., & Vessey, M. (1997). Epidemiology of genital prolapse: observations from the Oxford Family Planning Association Study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 104(5), 579-585.
  3. Whitcomb, E.L., Lukacz, E.S., Lawrence, J.M., Nager, C.W., & Luber, K.M. (2009). Prevalence and degree of bother from pelvic floor disorders in obese women. International Urogynecology Journal, 20 (3), 289.
  4. Fornell, E.U., Wingren, G., & KjOlhede, P. (2004). Factors associated with pelvic floor dysfunction with emphasis on urinary and fecal incontinence and genital prolapse: an epidemiological study. Acta obstetrician et gynecologica Scandinavica, 83(4), 383-389.
  5. Hagen, S., Stark, D. (2011). Conservative prevention and management of pelvic organ prolapse in women (Cochrane review).  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (12), CD003882.
  6. Li, C., Gong, Y., & Wang, B. (2016). The efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training for pelvic organ prolapse: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International urogynecology journal, 27 (7), 981-992.

We have been practically bursting waiting to be able to announce our newest physiotherapist to you! Maja Stroh is joining us and is starting with clients the week of March 11, 2019, and she already has her first clients booked in! As many of our new and current clients are aware, we have been very busy at the clinic since Shannon went on maternity leave and we have found Maja, the perfect therapist to join our Warman Physio family to help you help yourself!

Maja will be working out of both our Warman and Saskatoon locations, and has a specific interest in perinatal health.

 

Biography

Maja graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2007. She went on to graduate at the same university with a Masters of Physical Therapy in 2009. Maja has been working as a physical therapist since 2009 in private clinic settings, both in Saskatoon and rural areas. Maja has experience in treating orthopedic based populations, as well as pelvic health clients. Her particular interest is in treating the prenatal and post-partum pelvic floor populations.

She considers continuing education a high priority as well as strives to provide the best evidenced based practices. She has completed a variety of post graduate continuing education courses. These include courses relating to pain management, her Level III for both the Upper and Lower Quadrant Orthopedic Division courses, as well as a variety of pelvic health continuing education courses/lectures. She plans to continue to advance her knowledge with treating pelvic floor populations by continuing with further pelvic health courses.

Maja loves spending time with her two young boys. Some of her other interests include, cooking, gardening, painting and camping/hiking.

Areas of Practice Interest:

*Pre-natal & Post-partum assessment and treatment

*General Orthopedics

*Urinary Incontinence

*Pelvic Pain

*TMJ Dysfunction

*Spinal Assessment & Treatment