Pelvic health physiotherapy for the management of pelvic floor dysfunction in the recreationally active female
This paper discusses the management of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) in an active female patient. Pelvic health physiotherapy is a relatively new specialty in some countries, and many healthcare systems only prescribe pelvic floor muscle (PFM) exercises for the treatment of this condition. The importance of a holistic approach to the management of PFD in physically active women is addressed. A biopsychosocial perspective is needed for the assessment and treatment of these individuals. If this is integrated with an understanding of musculoskeletal dysfunction and sports medicine, the physiotherapist can improve their female patients’ pelvic health,and individual fitness and sporting performance. “Silent” symptoms (e.g. incontinence and pelvic heaviness) are a major challenge in the management of PFD because women can be too embarrassed to discuss these outside the clinic. The physiotherapist’s role must extend beyond the assessment of the pelvis and the PFMs, and a variety of skills are required to treat PFD throughout the course of a woman’s life.