The following frequently asked questions have been answered by a member of the highly qualified Pelvic Floor Centre team…
What is the Pelvic Floor Centre?
The Pelvic Floor Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital is Ireland’s first multidisciplinary clinic where a specialised team assess and manage the needs of patients with pelvic floor dysfunction, including bladder, bowel and pelvic organ prolapse issues.
The multidisciplinary team comprises a clinical nurse specialist, specialist pelvic health physiotherapists, a perineal specialist, a consultant urogynaecologist and a consultant colorectal surgeon.
Do I need a referral to attend the Pelvic Floor Centre?
Yes, your GP is the first port of call for your pelvic floor concerns. Your GP will be able to advise you about your next steps and refer you on to the Pelvic Floor Centre.
You will also be able to access the video and leaflets designed by the multidisciplinary team in the Pelvic Floor Centre to aid you in understanding the problem you may be facing.
What will happen when I am referred to the Pelvic Floor Centre?
After your referral your first contact with the clinic will be with the clinical nurse specialist who will call you discuss your symptoms and start your management.
Ongoing appointments for tests or specialised consultations can then be arranged as appropriate, depending on your symptoms.
On what day is the Pelvic Floor Centre clinic?
The Pelvic Floor Centre team are in clinic on a Wednesday in St. Michael’s Hospital outpatient department. Your appointment may also be on another day if you are scheduled initially to see the clinical nurse specialist or specialist physiotherapist.
When should I seek help for pelvic floor problems?
If you are experiencing pelvic floor issues that are affecting your quality of life and impacting on your activities of daily living, the first step is to get in contact with your general practitioner. Referral to the Pelvic Floor Centre is through your GP.
How can I find out more information on how to manage my bladder, prolapse and bowel?
The Pelvic Floor Centre education programme six-part series of videos will guide you through a range of topics how you can start to manage your symptoms, including explaining anatomical changes, contributing factors, triggers, and how you can start to take control.
This programme will aid you in finding more information about the issues that you may be facing and accompanied with the Pelvic Floor Centre leaflets you will be able to make more informed decisions about your pelvic floor health.
I often have bladder leakage. What should I do?
Bladder leakage issues can be caused by a range of lifestyle, dietary and health issues. A good place to start is with the Pelvic Floor Centre education programme videos 1 and 2 as well as the ‘Taking control of your bladder – getting started’ leaflet. These resources will help you understand the issues you may be facing and direct you to further resources.
I think I have a bowel problem. What should I do?
Bowel problems can occur as a result of childbirth, eating habits, toileting habits, menopausal changes, pelvic trauma, stress and activity levels.
We recommend that you start with Pelvic Floor Centre education programme videos 1 and 4 to get a better understanding of the bowel and its functionality and then reading the leaflets created by the Pelvic Floor Centre.
What are the other types of pelvic floor disorders?
These topics are discussed further in the series of videos made the Pelvic Floor Centre team. You can also learn about these disorders in further detail in our range of leaflets prior to seeking help for the issue you may be facing.
I am young and experience pelvic floor issues. Is this normal?
Pelvic floor symptoms can be experienced at any age and for many different reasons.
Are pelvic floor issues a normal part of ageing?
An increase in age can contribute to pelvic floor issues but is one of many contributing factors. Other factors are introduced in video 1. However, pelvic floor exercises and taking control can commence at any age.
Can both men and women suffer from pelvic floor issues?
Yes – both men and women have pelvic floor muscles. While issues may be more common in women, men also face problems with their pelvic floor muscles.
Men can refer to the ‘Pelvic floor advice and exercises for men’ leaflet to learn about common issues.
What role does physiotherapy play in the management of my pelvic floor?
Physiotherapy aims to optimise the function and control of the pelvic floor muscles that support the pelvic floor organs. Research has shown that specific pelvic floor exercises are beneficial in managing prolapse, bladder and bowel problems.
What happens when I attend for physiotherapy?
Your initial physiotherapy consultation will include a detailed history of your symptoms and a physical assessment. Based on findings, your individual physiotherapy programme may include:
- Specific patient education
- Exercise programme
- Real-time muscle biofeedback
- Electrical stimulation for muscles
- Manual therapy
- Relaxation and massage techniques
- Anal irrigation
Are there exercises I can do and how long should I follow them for?
Specific pelvic floor exercises are detailed in video 5. Other exercises may be appropriate for you after you have been assessed by our specialist physiotherapist.
You will normally need to continue with the appropriate exercises for three to four months to see a change in your condition. For more information see ‘Your pelvic floor exercise programme’.
I am scheduled to have surgery – how can I prepare and aid my recovery?
The leaflets ‘Preparing for pelvic organ surgery‘ and ‘Pelvic floor surgery – post operative instructions‘ can help you keep informed and prepared for your surgical procedure and recovery.