Whether you're experiencing pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, or other pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend a pelvic floor internal examination. While this procedure may feel somewhat intimidating, understanding its purpose and what it entails can help alleviate anxiety and prepare you for the process. In this comprehensive guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know about pelvic floor internal examination, including its purpose, technique, and what to expect during the procedure.
What is a Pelvic Floor Internal Examination?
A pelvic floor internal examination is a clinical assessment performed by a trained healthcare professional, such as a pelvic floor therapist, urogynecologist or gynecologist. Its primary objectives are to evaluate the musculature and function of your pelvic floor, identify areas of pain or discomfort, and develop an individualized treatment plan.
Why is Pelvic Floor Internal Examination Necessary?
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The pelvic floor consists of a complex network of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support pelvic organs, maintain continence, and assist in sexual function. When the pelvic floor becomes weak, tight, or dysfunctional, you may experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction, or even organ prolapse.
A pelvic floor internal examination allows your healthcare provider to thoroughly assess your specific situation and recommend appropriate treatment modalities. Without this evaluation, it may be difficult to develop a targeted and effective plan for addressing your symptoms.
How is the Examination Performed?
While the specific techniques for a pelvic floor internal exam may vary depending on the healthcare provider's preferences and your unique circumstances, the general procedure is as follows:
1. Preparation: Before the examination, your healthcare provider will review your medical history and discuss your concerns and symptoms. You'll be asked to undress from the waist down and cover yourself with a sheet for privacy.
2. External Assessment: Your healthcare provider will first perform a visual examination of your vulva, perineum, and anal region. They will be checking for any visible abnormalities or signs of infection, as well as assessing the overall symmetry and appearance of your pelvic region.
3. Internal Assessment: The actual pelvic floor internal examination involves your healthcare provider gently inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into your vagina or rectum. This allows them to palpate the pelvic floor muscles, assessing their strength, flexibility, and overall function. During this process, they may ask you to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles to better understand their performance. They will also look for specific trigger points or areas of pain and discomfort that may be contributing to your symptoms.
4. Feedback and Recommendations: Following the examination, your healthcare provider will discuss their findings with you and recommend appropriate treatment options. These may include pelvic floor physical therapy, lifestyle changes, medications, or other interventions depending on your individual needs.
Pelvic Floor Internal Examination Example
Imagine Jane, a 45-year-old woman experiencing chronic pelvic pain and urinary leakage. At the recommendation of her primary care provider, she visits a pelvic floor therapist for an internal examination. The therapist carefully walks Jane through the evaluation process, making her feel comfortable and informed throughout the procedure. Afterward, the therapist explains that she discovered tight pelvic floor muscles and several painful trigger points. Together, they develop a treatment plan that includes regular pelvic floor physical therapy, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle adjustments. Over time, Jane notices significant improvements in her pelvic pain and her urinary leakage.
In conclusion, a pelvic floor internal examination serves as a vital diagnostic tool for identifying the root causes of your pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms. Being well-informed about this procedure can help you approach it with confidence and ultimately set you on the path to recovery. Don't hesitate to share this post with others who may benefit from understanding the importance of pelvic floor internal examination, and explore our other guides on Pelvic Floor Therapy for even more useful information and resources.