Pelvic health physical therapy can be a difficult topic for many people to discuss. It can be embarrassing, confusing, and even painful. Society tends to discourage discussion of these topics, causing confusion and lack of awareness regarding what is or is not normal. The reality is that pelvic floor dysfunction is common and there is something we can do about it. As one of my professors once pointed out, “There is an entire aisle dedicated to adult pads and diapers in every Target, someone is buying them!”
I am interested in specializing in women’s health for several reasons. I want to bring these difficult topics to the conversation and break the taboo. I also believe my demeanor is uniquely suited to do so. As a physical therapist (PT), some of my best attributes are compassion, warmth and approachability. Patients with pelvic health dysfunction are a population that requires exceptional listening skills and patience. One must be able to meet the patient where they are and discuss these potentially uncomfortable topics in order to find relief.
Since I began receiving specialized training in women’s health I’ve become one of three PTs seeing patients with pelvic health diagnoses at our clinic. I’ve also started incorporating pelvic floor training and coordination in nearly all of my orthopedic populations and Pilates classes. I intend to continue incorporating these education efforts into my practice with the end goal of spreading awareness.
I want to be a women’s health PT because this population has been historically under-served. Due to lack of awareness and lack of access to providers, many women have lived with these issues believing there was no treatment or that what they were experiencing was “normal”. Women (and men) are finally being heard and they are finally being helped. I am excited to be a part of this movement — aiming to listen, educate and advocate.
I am very excited to have recently begun my involvement with the Section on Women’s Health. I was able to take my first two CAPP courses this past fall including Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 in Houston, Texas and Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 2 – Pelvic Pain in Longmont, Colorado. I am now signed up for four additional courses including Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 2 – Bowel Dysfunction, Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 3, OB Fundamentals and OB Advanced, all this coming year. My goal is to gain enough knowledge and experience in the next two years to sit for the Board-Certified Women's Health Clinical Specialist exam in 2021.
When I was in graduate school just two years ago, we learned about the existence of pelvic health physical therapy in a one-hour slideshow. When asked if I could do one of my clinicals at a place where they treat women’s health, I was told this would not be possible. I hope that someday in the near future, every graduate physical therapy program has a course on pelvic health available.
I believe that supporting the SoWH and educating both patients and clinicians about its existence is one of the best ways to help make this happen. I grew up seeing my mother’s various magazines and books such as “The Wisdom of Menopause” and “Body After Baby” lying around my childhood home. Now realizing how important and under discussed these topics truly are, I am excited to be a part of the next generation of therapists, educators and advocates.