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  • Writer's pictureNicole Cozean

What should I expect at my first pelvic physical therapy appointment?

We know going to pelvic physical therapy can feel intimidating. It may be a reason you’ve put off seeking care. So we want to pull back the curtain and help you understand exactly what will happen at your initial pelvic physical therapy visit.



Ultimately, we want you to know two things about your first pelvic floor physical therapy appointment:


  1. You should feel completely comfortable at every stage, understand what’s going on (and why) and agree together on whether you’ll do an internal exam. An internal exam is absolutely not required if you’re not comfortable with it, and doesn’t have to be done on the first day. However, it is the gold standard of care and if you’re not getting an internal exam you’re missing a huge piece of your puzzle.

  2. You should leave feeling much more knowledgable, having a better understanding of what is going on and with a solid plan to improve. We want you feeling much more hopeful when you leave and excited to start improving!


Finding Pelvic Sanity Podcast What should I expect at my first pelvic physical therapy appointment?
 

Finding Pelvic Sanity Group - Have you joined Finding Pelvic Sanity yet? It's a totally free, supportive online group of 5,000+ members dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. It's moderated by the team at PelvicSanity, so you'll know you're getting great information a positive environment. Make sure to join here

 

After you book your appointment you’ll likely receive intake paperwork.


This will ask about your symptoms, but also ask questions about other areas the pelvic floor governs - often about peeing, pooping, sexual activity and any other relevant information.


Many of you are wondering “what do I wear to a pelvic physical therapy visit?” In an ideal world you’d wear something comfortable and athletic, but it honestly doesn’t matter, especially for the initial evaluation!


Once you arrive you’ll be escorted back into a private treatment room. You’ll sit down - still completely clothed - and talk with your physical therapist about your symptoms and what’s going on. They’ll go through the intake paperwork and ask a few more questions to get a total picture of what’s going on. You should have enough time to completely explain what’s going on and not feel rushed at all - very different than a usual doctor’s appointment.


Your physical therapist will likely then explain a bit about the pelvic floor and what can be causing your issues and let you know how the rest of the evaluation will take place.


They will then leave the room to allow you to undress and usually put on a patient gown so you’ll be covered as much as possible during the rest of your exam.


The pelvic PT will usually start with doing a thorough external evaluation, seeing how you move, bend and stand. They’ll look at your hips, your back and posture, and likely how you’re breathing. This will (or should be!) all standing and off the table.


They will explain exactly what’s going on, and then - as long as you’re completely comfortable - generally proceed to the internal portion of the exam. It will involve a single gloved finger evaluating the muscles of the pelvic floor. This should not be painful and your physical therapist will make sure you’re informed and comfortable throughout the process.


Afterwards they’ll usually leave the room, allow you to change and then return to discuss what they’ve found and your plan going forward.


Finding Pelvic Sanity Podcast What should I expect at my first pelvic physical therapy appointment?

As Nicole said in the full 'sode of the podcast on this topic...


"You should be completely comfortable throughout the initial evaluation, have great communication with your pelvic physical therapist, understand what’s likely causing your symptoms and leave with a solid plan for how to move forward!" -Nicole Cozean, Pelvic Sanity

If you’re dealing with pelvic health issues, make sure you join our free FB support group (Finding Pelvic Sanity), follow us for more information on Instagram (@pelvicsanity) and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify for wherever you get your podcasts!


 

Who are we at PelvicSanity?

At PelvicSanity, it's our mission to support patients with pelvic pain and pelvic floor symptoms, regardless of where you live. We can help with:

- In-person treatment for those in Southern California at the PelvicSanity clinic

- Immersive Out-of-Town program for those able to travel

- Remote Consultations to get you expert 1:1 help, advice and an action plan

- Online patient courses on Interstitial Cystitis and Movement for Pelvic Health

- A Facebook support group for patients called Finding Pelvic Sanity.


 


Nicole Cozean

Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.


Named Physical Therapist of the Year, Dr. Nicole is author of the award-winning book The Interstitial Cystitis Solution and the first PT to serve on the ICA Board of Directors, Her passion is helping those with pelvic health issues - regardless of where they live - find lasting relief.

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