Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy

The Official Journal of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Research at your fingertips.

The Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy (JWHPT) is an enthusiastic proponent of advancing the science of women’s and men’s health, and we encourage authors to submit their research to the journal in accordance with this mission.

Despite the fact that it has been 20 years since research funding by the National Institutes of Health was required to include women, there is a still a large gender gap in biomedical research. Women remain underrepresented in all domains of health-related research impacting societal concerns and health care policy.

Viewing physical therapy research in this larger context, it is vital to maintain high standards of quality research regarding the health care needs of women.

Some of the topics the Journal covers:

  • Pre/post-partum
  • Manual Therapy
  • Women’s sports and health promotion
  • Women’s Musculoskeletal Concerns
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pediatric Pelvic Health
  • Bowel/Bladder Dysfunction
  • Post-Cancer Rehab/Breast Health
  • Chronic Pain

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Journal Club

The Facebook JWHPT Journal Club is open to PTs, PTAs, SPTs and other medical health professionals who are interested in discussing the latest evidence and research.

Access from anywhere.

Our journal is accessible in both digital and print formats allowing you to read it from anywhere. Free for APTA Pelvic Health members and costs USD $185 /year for non-members. Whether you are writing your CAPP Case Reflection, completing course work in a DPT program or want to advance your knowledge on the latest evidence available in the women’s health discipline, you will find peer-reviewed articles, book reviews and new research in women’s health physical therapy in our journal.

January/March 2020 Issue
Volume 44 – Issue 1

“This issue brings an interesting variety of scholarly products to consider for discussion. There are 2 research reports dealing with running. Drs Rothschild and Schellhase survey adult female endurance runners finding 2 components of the female athletic triad, low energy availability and menstrual dysfunction, to be an issue. Dr Deering and colleagues examined interrecti distance and abdominal muscle thickness before and after an 8-week training program, which used ultrasound imaging as a biofeedback tool in their intervention. Dr Reisch reviews the literature on behavioral training techniques for overactive bladder finding good support for the theoretical rationale of these techniques. Dr Stone shared a case report on intervening for Peyronie disease in a male to help with his female partner’s dyspareunia. Finally, Dr Bishop presents a thought-provoking clinical commentary on manual therapy for pelvic pain conditions.” Chiarello, Cynthia M. PT, PhD; Editor-in-Chief

Submit a manuscript.

Our editorial team invites you to submit manuscripts on all aspects of women’s health as it pertains to physical therapy. We are especially interested in the following topics:

  • Pre/post-partum
  • Manual Therapy
  • Women’s sports and health promotion
  • Women’s Musculoskeletal Concerns
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pediatric Pelvic Health
  • Bowel/Bladder Dysfunction
  • Post-Cancer Rehab/Breast Health
  • Chronic Pain

Become a Manuscript Reviewer.

The Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy is seeking to expand its team of manuscript reviewers. Applicants must be able to:

  • Receive and review 1‐3 manuscripts per year for blinded peer review
  • Demonstrate that they have a good knowledge base of several clinical content areas in Women’s Health Physical Therapy with at least 2 years in specialty practice
  • Understand basic statistics required to evaluate the strength of the research for at least two of the following types of research.
  • Evaluate quality of the research and provide constructive criticism and suggestions to authors
  • Commitment to developing reviewer skills

Featured Free Article

Outcomes Following Multidisciplinary Management of Women With Residual Pelvic Pain and Dyspareunia Following Synthetic Vaginal Mesh and/or Mesh Sling Removal
Abraham, Annie M. MD; Scott, Kelly M. MD; Christie, Alana BS, MS; Morita-Nagai, Patricia PT; Chhabra, Avneesh MD; Zimmern, Philippe E. MD,
October/December 2019 – Volume 43 – Issue 4 – p 171–179

After receiving institutional review board approval, a neutral reviewer retrospectively analyzed a prospectively maintained database of women who experienced pelvic pain/dyspareunia after implant removal and were referred to a physiatrist specializing in pelvic rehabilitation medicine. The study concluded that pelvic pain-focused interventions are a worthwhile recommendation in women with refractory pelvic pain after vaginal mesh or mesh sling removal. The purpose of the study was to describe the clinical presentations of women with residual pelvic pain or dyspareunia after synthetic vaginal mesh and/or mesh sling removal and the effectiveness of treatments using a multidisciplinary approach.

Chronic pelvic pain has an estimated prevalence of 5.7% to 26.6% among women worldwide.1 Women with persistent pelvic pain or dyspareunia present with a constellation of symptoms that can include unilateral or bilateral pelvic, labial, vaginal, or buttock pain. Chronic pelvic pain can create a functional disability and can negatively impact work activities, sitting tolerance, ability to exercise, sexual function, and overall quality of life.2 Even after a thorough evaluation, it is often difficult to identify the exact etiology of the pain. Possible etiologies may include pelvic floor dysfunction with pelvic floor myofascial pain; scar tissue; obturator, pudendal, or sciatic neuralgia; synthetic vaginal mesh or mesh sling contraction; and infection.3,4

Featured Highlight
Clinical Practice Guidelines

In a collaborative effort by the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical therapy of the APTA, the clinical practice guideline for physical therapy management for pelvic girdle pain in the antepartum population was published in 20171. This open access document offers recommendations for clinical reasoning in the management of females with prenatal pelvic girdle pain within the ICF framework, ranked by strength of supporting evidence. The recommendations also serve to guide future research to address areas in which evidence is sparse.

Pelvic Girdle Pain in the Antepartum Population – Physical Therapy Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health

Brief overview of findings:

  • “Risk factors. Based on strong evidence, risk factors for the development of PGP include previous pregnancy, orthopedic dysfunction (such as hip and/or leg dysfunction), increased body mass index, and smoking. Risk is also higher for patients with work dissatisfaction and those who don’t believe that their condition will improve.
  • Clinical course. Several factors can help to identify women who will have persistent problems. These include PGP developing early in pregnancy, multiple pain locations, and abnormal results on multiple physical therapy assessments.
  • Examination and diagnosis. The guideline highlights the importance of recognizing other pregnancy-related conditions that may appear similar to PGP. Important clinical tests and outcome questionnaires for assessing women with PGP are identified as well.
  • Physical therapy interventions. Physical therapy recommendations for PGP may include the use of a support belt, exercise programs, or manual therapy techniques. Yet so far there is only weak or conflicting evidence to support these recommendations. While strong evidence shows that women with PGP are at high risk of falls, there is little evidence on measures to assess balance or reduce the risk of falls, including activity limitations.”2

The Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy continues to develop evidence-based practice guidelines following the APTA’s mission. The APTA states, “[Clinical prediction guidelines] are key to decreasing unwarranted variations in practice, decreasing the knowledge translation gap, and optimizing movement.3 The Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy has the following evidence-based practice guidelines currently in development:

  • Functional Lower Gastrointestinal Disorders: Constipation
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain in the Postpartum Population
  • Pelvic Pain (in cooperation with the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy)
  • Physical Therapy Intervention for Adult Women With Urinary Incontinence
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Physical Therapy and Exercise
  • See complete list of APTA clinical prediction guidelines in development

References:

  • Clinton S, Newell A, Downey P, Coleman-Ferreira K. Pelvic Girdle Pain in the Antepartum Population Physical Therapy Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health from the Section on Women’s Health and the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy. 2017; 41(2): 102-125.
  • Hughes, Connie. (2017, July 5). New guideline on pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy — Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy presents evidence-based recommendations. Retrieved from <https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/wkh-ngo070517.php>.
  • APTA. (2018). Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs). Retrieved from <http://www.apta.org/EvidenceResearch/EBPTools/CPGs/>.
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