Pelvic Floor PT: The Office

Continued from here. Disclaimer about how this is not medical advice, nor is it intended to be universally applicable applies.

Q: When I think about physical therapy, I picture an open setting, where multiple people might be sharing the same gym-like or fitness room. That doesn’t happen with pelvic floor physical therapy, right? Like, other patients are not going to see my genitals?

At least where I went, this was not the case. While there were some common spaces — spaces where my PT observed me doing common, okay-for-public movements like walking and sitting in chairs — anything that involved touching (and yes, some things did involve touching; I’ll get to that later) took place in a closed, private room.

Q: So how does the first visit start out, exactly?

At the beginning of the first visit, I completed some patient history forms in the waiting room. It was fairly similar to other patient history forms I’d filled out in other provider offices: allergies, other known health conditions, past injuries and surgeries (types and dates), past pregnancies and childbirths, and known family histories of various health conditions. There was also a section I think was more specific to pelvic issues, asking if I experience — frequently, occasionally, seldom/never — period pain, urinary incontinence or urgency, fecal incontinence or constipation, pain with sex, difficult penetration (e.g., inability to have PIV sex or to use tampons), or other unexplained pelvic pain. I say “I think” because while I’ve seen other providers ask about virtually all of these issues (maybe not fecal incontinence or difficult penetration), I’ve not seen them all together like this.

Then a medical assistant called me back to what looked like a standard office triage area. She took my temperature, blood pressure, and weight. I don’t know why, specifically, they did it, and I didn’t ask at the time. I mean, I assume in general that a lot of offices use the temperature, blood pressure, and weight measurements to establish baselines and to note any marked change from the pattern. However, I’ve also been to some providers where it felt like the rationale for taking such measurements was “we do these things first because we have always done these things first.” I couldn’t say which it was here — though I’d like to believe it was the former — because while they repeated the process for every visit, they never mentioned changes because I had no changes worth mentioning.

After that, she led me into the exam room.

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