Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy involves the assessment and treatment of bladder, bowel and pelvic floor dysfunction in women, men and children.

Incontinence affects more than 4 million Australians and can be embarrassing, distressing and socially isolating.  About 80% of those impacted by urinary incontinence can be cured or improved  (Continence Foundation of Australia)

Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is a specialised field of physiotherapy where advanced education is required. Cheryl Ludwik has been working in this field for almost 20 years and has completed post graduate qualifications in continence and pelvic floor rehabilitation at the University of Melbourne.  She has also been recognised as an expert by the Australian Physiotherapy Association by  gaining the title “Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist”.

Continence and pelvic floor physiotherapy is based on a thorough evaluation of your history and a clinical examination to form a detailed diagnosis.  This is followed by a treatment program that is tailored your individual problems and goals.  There is a strong focus on education and empowerment

Recent research has shown that a pelvic floor muscle training program, prescribed and supervised  by a continence and pelvic floor physiotherapist, can improve or cure up to 89 percent of women of all ages with stress incontinence (loss with cough, sneeze or exertion).     (P Neumann 2006)

Recent studies have also shown that pelvic floor physiotherapy can improve or help manage  prolapse in many cases. (Braekken et al 2008 and 2010)

If you have any of the following problems, a continence and pelvic floor assessment may be able to help:

  • Difficulty doing pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Bladder control problems (leakage, difficulty holding on)
    • Bladder urgency or frequency
    • Overactive bladder
    • Stress incontinence
    • Urge incontinence
  • Bowel control problems
    • Faecal incontinence or soiling
    • Faecal urgency
  • Bowel emptying problems
    • Constipation
    • Incomplete emptying
  • Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse (dragging, heaviness, bulging)
  • Pelvic pain (men and women)
  • Conditions related to pelvic floor muscle overactivity
    • vestibulodynia, vulvodynia, vaginismus, anismus,
    • pudendal neuralgia, non-infective prostatitis
  • Sexual problems
    • Pain
    • Reduced sensation
  • Scheduled for surgery
    • Men prior to and after radical prostate surgery
  • Women prior to and after gynaecological or urological surgery

Or if you are just aiming to prevent future problems, especially during or after pregnancy, after menopause or at  any stage in life

The physiotherapy treatments for these various problems are very different.  It is more than just pelvic floor squeezes.  Cheryl will assess your condition, identify your symptoms and weaknesses and develop a programme specifically targeted to your needs .

Treatment may include:

  • pelvic floor muscle training
  • pelvic floor muscle relaxation
  • biofeedback training
  • electrical muscle stimulation
  • bladder retraining and urge control strategies
  • emptying techniques for bladder or bowel
  • prolapse management strategies
  • education
  • diet, fluid and lifestyle modification
  • advice regarding most appropriate general exercise

You can be assured that continence and pelvic floor physiotherapy at Physiotherapy Centre Bendigo is in line with the most current international scientific evidence.  Cheryl participates in regular professional development activities to maintain a high level of expertise.

Cheryl has recently been joined by Kara Normington, who will take over management of the less complex incontinence clients. This will reduce waiting times for the more complex pelvic pain clients and men’s health clients. Kara is looking forward to working alongside Cheryl in this very important field of physiotherapy.