Pelvic and Women’s Health Physical Therapy

Jill Boissonnault, PT, PhD

Course Description

The course covers core topics in women’s and pelvic health. It includes a review of life-span physiology including an overview of puberty and menopause, a brief introduction to the impacts of age on male and female body systems, an in-depth look at pelvic health including continence, colorectal, and prolapse issues. In the area of obstetrics, the course covers management of musculoskeletal dysfunction during the childbearing year built upon a foundation of anatomical and physiological changes for the obstetric client; it reviews indications and contraindications for physical agents; and discusses evidence-based types of exercise commonly used in treating the obstetric client. Finally, the course provides the learner with information on the staging and medical management of breast cancer and discusses rehabilitation considerations for this population.

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At the completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Apply the US department of health and human services criteria for women’s health conditions to enable identification of conditions that warrant that classification.
  • Utilize knowledge of lifespan pathophysiology of conditions related to puberty and menopause to understand medical and physical therapy management strategies.
  • Evaluate the impact of menopausal musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system symptomatology upon physical therapy practice.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of male and female Pelvic floor dysfunction related to underactive pelvic floor musculature including stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and anal incontinence.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of male and female Pelvic floor dysfunction related to overactive pelvic floor musculature including urgency, frequency, urge incontinence, and hypertonous issues.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how continence issues manifest in the pediatric population and contrast how they behave differently from similar issues in adults.
  • Provide first-line advice on management of constipation in the form of general dietary recommendations and toileting habits, as well as understand when to refer to specialist physical therapists.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate evidence-based assessment and management techniques for obstetric musculoskeletal dysfunction.
  • Determine appropriate use of additional physical therapy interventions, including physical agents, body-mechanics, and exercise, for dysfunction commonly seen in the obstetric population.
  • Identify medical interventions commonly used to fight breast cancer and list appropriate rehabilitation measures for neuromusculoskeletal sequelae of those medical interventions.