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Women's Pelvic Health

Persistent Pelvic Pain

Do you have pelvic or abdominal pain?
Is pelvic pain stopping you doing things you enjoy, such as exercise, social activities or intimacy?
Do you have to take days off school or work because of your pelvic pain?

 
Persistent pelvic pain is a condition experienced by 1 in 5 Australian women, but is rarely spoken about.  Also known as chronic pelvic pain, persistent pelvic pain is pain felt in the pelvic area, which can include the vagina, anus, coccyx, lower abdomen, hips, present for more than 6 months.  Those experiencing pelvic pain will often also notice changes in their bladder or bowel function, or have pain with sex.  
 
Pelvic pain is unique as the pelvis is home to the reproductive organs and crucial private bodily functions that we often don’t talk about, making pain in this area highly distressing.
 
Common conditions associated with pelvic pain are endometriosis, painful bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis, pudendal neuralgia, coccydynia, vaginismus or vulvodynia.
 

Common Symptoms: 

Your symptoms may be constant, they may come and go, or they may cycle with your period.  
 
Some examples of common symptoms women may experience are: 
    Painful periods, or pain with ovulation 
    Generalised lower abdominal and pelvic pain or discomfort
    Pain with sitting or wearing tight clothing such as jeans or active wear
    Painful sex (during or afterwards)
    Pain with inserting a tampon or pain with an internal examination / pap smear / cervical screening 
    Pain with a full bladder and a feeling of needing to go to the toilet frequently
    Painful urination
    Abdominal bloating or an irritated bowel
    Tail bone or coccyx pain 
    General ill health with fatigue, poor sleep, low mood or feeling anxious
 

What Causes Persistent Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic Pain often begins with a medical condition, such as endometriosis or recurrent urinary tract infections, a stressful life event, such as work or family stress, or sometimes the cause is not known.  Pain can then become persistent when other changes happen in the body, including changes to the muscles, the nervous system (the nerves and the brain), and changes in your thoughts and behaviours.  The pelvic floor and abdominal muscles can often become tense, which can contribute to your pain.  Poor sleep and emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, or depression also play a role.  
 

How We Can Help:

Our experienced Physiotherapists understand this complex problem and will work with you to improve your quality of life.  We take a wholistic approach addressing all aspects that may be contributing to your pain.  
 
Your physiotherapist will take a detailed history to work out what is causing your pain. They will help you to understand the relationship between your organs, muscles, nerves, joints, thoughts, feelings and the world around you and your pain.  We know how to reduce pelvic floor and abdominal muscle tension and have many practical strategies that you can use to help improve your wellbeing and restore your pelvic health.  
 
We work closely with you, your referring doctor and other health professionals to achieve your goals.
 

What To Expect:

Our caring physios are invested in your overall wellbeing, empowering you to live your best life.  During your treatment with us you can expect:
 
   Time spent hearing and exploring your story, understanding your unique body, mind and lifestyle factors and establishing goals with you
    A thorough physical assessment, which may include an internal exam (if and when you are ready)
    A detailed explanation of what is causing your pain, and what we can do to help 
    Design of a treatment program tailored to your individual needs and goals
    Development of a ‘pain management toolkit’ to give you strategies to help manage your pain
    Exercises for your pelvic floor muscles 
    Desensitisation exercises, massage techniques and / or stretches and strengthening exercises for your pelvis, back, abdomen or legs 
    Treatment of bladder or bowel problems 
    Education about intimacy, arousal and libido and how to integrate relaxation into an intimate setting 
    Education about the science of pain, to help you understand the relationship between your pain, nervous system, and physical and emotional health 
    Advice to help get you moving in a safe and comfortable way 
    Advice on lifestyle factors including general exercise, sleep, diet and stress management

 

 

What Do I Do Next?

 

Alt Camberwell
8823 8300

 

Alt Hampton
9521 0444

 

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Did You Know

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What Is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

The pelvic floor muscles are at the base of the pelvis and attach from the pubic bone at the front to the tail bone at the back. They are like a hammock and support the bladder, uterus and bowel. They also help control the bladder and bowel and play a role in sexual function.

If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they can contribute to poor bladder and bowel control and pelvic organ prolapse. If you are unable to relax your pelvic floor you may have problems with bladder and bowel emptying or sexual and pelvic pain.

Our specifically trained Physiotherapists will evaluate the function of your pelvic floor muscles and assess your ability to contract and relax these muscles. Pelvic floor muscle training under the guidance of a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist is recognised as an effective treatment for these problems.


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Our Locations

Camberwell
549 Burke Rd, Camberwell VIC 3124
T: 03 8823 8300
F: 03 8823 8399
Hampton
170 Thomas St, Hampton VIC 3188
T: 03 9521 0444
F: 03 9521 0777 

Also consulting at:

Box Hill:  Epworth Eastern Ekera, Level 2, Suite 2.10, 116-118 Thames Street
East Bentleigh: Southern Urology, 7 Chester Street
East Melbourne: Urology Consultants Victoria, Suite 102, Freemasons Hospital, 320 Victoria Parade
Malvern: Australian Urology Associates, Ground Floor, 322 Glenferrie Road
Malvern: Cabrini Mother and Baby Centre, Area E, Level 2, Cabrini Hospital, 183 Wattletree Road

If you’d like to make an appointment for one of these locations please call our Camberwell rooms on 03 8823 8300