What is an OB/GYN?
- Pregnancy/Childbirth and postpartum care
- Menstrual issues/concerns
- STD checks
- Birth Control
- Well Woman Exams (pap smears, blood work, breast exams, urine samples, etc.)
- Menopause related changes (ie. changes in estrogen levels)
- Hormone disorders
- Fertility Care (if necessary they may refer out to a Reproductive Endocrinologist)
What happens during a standard gynecological exam?
- General physical exam: height, blood, weight, and general medical information. This may also be taken by a nurse.
- External genital exam: visually looking at the vulva
- Pelvic exam: The Doctor uses a speculum to observe the vagina and cervix, as well as a gloved/lubricated finger to assess internal organs. You may have your legs in stirrups.
Learn more from ACOG about what to expect here.
What about an assessment with a Pelvic Floor PT?
What happens during a visit to a Pelvic Floor PT?
- External Assessment: includes looking at the quality of the tissue, position of the perineum, and looking at and feeling different areas of your body (e.g. inner thighs/adductors, glutes, and lower belly). The external assessment is also a great time to ask questions about your C-Section scar.
- Internal Assessment: The internal assessment is NOT like a visit to your OB/GYN and only done with your OK. They are looking at pelvic floor muscle strength, endurance, and coordination, as well as your ability to contract AND relax. PT’s are also looking at the pelvic floor muscle in coordination with breath (how your core system is working together). A PT may also be assessing for any signs of Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
**Note: this isn’t a complete list – just a few items you might review. There is a lot.
What is the difference between an OB/GYN and Pelvic Floor PT?
Your OB/GYN is an expert on reproductive health/wellness. Their focus is on the internal organs, NOT the muscles. Pelvic Floor PTs focus on the pelvic floor muscles and coordinating and how they are coordinating with the rest of your core system and body (among other things).