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What should you expect at Pelvic Floor PT?

Lauren VanValkenburgh 
July 21, 2022

So someone recommended you go see a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist? You're juggling 17 things this week– (kids, work, exercise, dinner) but you finally made the call and now you have an appointment scheduled. Amazing! 

But, also, a little nerve racking? The rumblings around the internet are ominous and no one has really told you what to expect. Maybe you’re even a little nervous- do you need to prepare?

Here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect at your first appointment with a pelvic health PT. 

A lot of chatting!  Pelvic health is more than just the pelvic floor. We’ll ask you about previous injuries, incidences of pain, history of pregnancy/birth, bowel and bladder function. All the fun stuff! And trust us, we’ve heard it all- likely twice already that day. There’s no embarrassment required for anything you may be experiencing.   

A physical examination! This is physical therapy after all– we want to check out how those muscles are working. We’re concerned with strength, coordination and endurance in all different parts of your body– and that includes the pelvic floor. We’ll look at your breathing and how that impacts the rest of your body. We’ll likely ask you to move, walk, run and squat so we can look at your go-to movement patterns.

We might also recommend an internal examination. This is the scary part for some. But don’t stress!  These exams are simple and will likely look much different than what you’ve been through at the doctor’s. Typically, we’ll ask you to lay on your back, fully covered with a sheet. A trained PT can take one, gloved (and lubricated) finger and gently assess your internal vaginal musculature. Throughout this exam, you are in complete control and we adjust based on your comfort level. This allows us to gather more information about how your pelvic floor is working in relation to the rest of your body. We also can look at things like tissue health and sensation and are trained to look for medical reasons that may indicate a need to check in with your MD. 

Educate and plan! By the end of your first session we’ll start developing an individualized plan to address your experiences and symptoms. This will encompass giving you the tools and (research-supported) education that can help you in the long term. The start of Pelvic health PT may include a return to foundational basics- like breathing and pelvic floor coordination. But by the end of your program– expect for your plan to look like the activities you are hoping to get back to! 

What do you love? Running, lifting, walking, jumping, playing on the ground with your kids. Those are all on the table! We’re here to help you live your best life without pain or fear! 


Meet the Author
Lauren Van Valkenburgh graduated with a bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. She went on to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2022. She has always been passionate about the intersection of pelvic health and wellness and firmly believes that everyone should be able to enjoy the activities they love without pain or fear.