Women’s Health Physiotherapy

Women-specific health problems become synonymous with being a woman, but you no longer need to suffer in silence. Instead, take a step forward towards preventing and eliminating these women-specific health concerns. One such step is seeking physiotherapy for preventive or corrective measures. What better occasion than Women’s Day to understand the role of physiotherapy in women’s health! Dear readers, there’s a whole branch of physiotherapy specializing in women’s health.
A common misperception amongst women, especially Indian women, is that the ONLY specialist they need to consult for women-specific issues, is the gynecologist. Numerous women-specific conditions call for physiotherapy interventions. Unfortunately, most often women only find out these professional offerings after the problems have increased manifold. Sadly, the awareness towards the role of physiotherapy in women-specific conditions, even amongst many healthcare professionals, is limited. Thankfully, the scene is gradually changing, with an increasing number of women seeking the right guidance and appropriate help.
According to research statistics Indian consensus, almost 48.5% of the total population is females, with 48.1% staying in urban and 48.6% in rural areas. Due to current lifestyle or work-related issues, illnesses are increasing in the female population leading to a range of complex health issues, most commonly Back pain, Pregnancy-related complications, Pelvic floor dysfunction, Obesity, PCOD, Injury, Trauma or illness, Age-related physiological changes – menstrual problems, menopause, and osteoporosis… all of which significantly affect the women, with alarming hormonal changes. Most women assume this is normal and they need to adapt themselves accordingly and continue with their routines as very little can be done. But every lock has a key! Likewise, every problem has an appropriate solution.
Many governmental and non-governmental organisations are now getting proactive Women’s Health Physiotherapy with programs aimed at the assessment and planned therapeutic treatment specific to various health problems affecting women of all age groups, with complete knowledge of the physiological differences and the impact of hormonal changes on their well-being. Women’s health concerns are widespread and across all ages. Most women will attest that they are just built differently than men. From differences in hormones to the unique stresses from pregnancy, your bodies go through a lot in a lifetime.  A physiotherapist understands this and works with many female-related complaints, the common ones including Pelvic floor dysfunction; Mensuration related disorders; Pre and Post pregnancy care; Hormonal disturbances; PCODs; Obesity-related ailments; Incontinence (Loss of bladder /bowel control when laughing or sneezing); Stress-related disorders; Reduced core strength; and Breast lymphoedema.
A thorough assessment and well-designed exercise program by a physiotherapist is required to alleviate these and many other health concerns in women across their life span. Numerous exercises, as well as research-backed therapeutic interventions, are available at the disposal of a physiotherapist to treat conditions specific to women. Women’s Health Physiotherapy empowers women to appreciate how their bodies function and take charge of their own well-being.
Most people (including most healthcare practitioners themselves) have a preconceived notion that physiotherapists dealing in women’s health only give Kegels exercises. Repeat after me… “my pelvic health is more than Kegels”! Think of the pelvic floor muscles as springs. A stiff spring doesn’t help in function. Likewise, a loose, over-stretched spring, also doesn’t help with function. Stretched muscles can be weak, but stiff, tight muscles can also be weak. Muscles need to work through a range to allow for optimal strength, force, and power generation. Issues with pelvic health calls for a consultation with a Physiotherapist to help you make sense of your symptoms.
Do you know that women are at an 11% risk of undergoing at least one pelvic organ prolapse (POP) by the age of 79? If your mother or grandmother suffered from prolapse or urinary incontinence, you are more likely to suffer the same. However, that does not mean that you just sit around, waiting for that to happen. A physiotherapist can definitely help address modifiable risk factors that may contribute to the symptoms and save you the ordeal.
Most women consider it normal to leak urine after birth. During a woman’s lifespan, one third of all women will suffer from urinary incontinence. It may be common but certainly not normal, and help is always available at your physio’s clinic. Let’s face it, there are women that leak and are not bothered by it – and that’s ok. But, if you’re not ok with it and don’t want it to be your new norm, then please reach out!
Another common issue women face is constipation. After many visits to different specialists, they continue searching for an answer. Whilst managing your fluid and fiber intake is important to address ongoing constipation, have you considered that your pooping technique might be off, and your muscles might be contracting rather than relaxing? Women’s Health Physios help assess your defecation dynamics and to poo like a pro!
Physiotherapy can make a difference to every single member of your family at some point in their life. Never hesitate to ask and approach your physiotherapist as to what can be done for you. Well, I hope this write-up has been an enlightening one for you. Here’s wishing you and all your girlie friends a very Happy Women’s Day!

Dr. Danesh Chinoy
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