5 Questions to Ask When Meeting With a Pelvic Floor Health Professional
Visiting a health professional for the first time about your pelvic floor symptoms? That’s great! It’s an important step in ensuring you receive the care and support you need.
Before your appointment, you might be feeling excited and relieved that there is help available, and you might be feeling lots of other emotions, too. You might be feeling scared, anxious, or overwhelmed, and that’s completely understandable–especially given that pelvic floor conditions are very common but aren’t widely talked about.
Having a few questions in mind can help you feel prepared and at ease for your appointment, so we’ve put together a list of 5 things to ask when you meet with your provider.
1. Can you explain, step-by-step, what will happen during the appointment today?
Your appointment may include an external and/or internal exam, and your provider may be examining sensitive areas of your body. Your comfort is the most important thing, and you should consent to and be comfortable with all portions of your exam. If at any point, you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you have the ability to say no or stop the exam.
2. Can you examine me in another position?
Some people experience symptoms (or worsening symptoms) only during certain activities or in certain positions. For example, does running, having sex, or lifting heavy objects make things feel worse? Do you only feel symptoms when you are squatting or lying on your side? If this is the case, let your provider know, and if possible, ask if they can assess you from those positions.
3. Can you help me understand the diagnosis?
Receiving medical information from a doctor can be very overwhelming, especially as someone hearing a diagnosis for the first time. If your doctor is explaining things in a way you don’t understand, let them know and ask them to talk you through it again. It might feel uncomfortable or intimidating to do so, but don’t worry! It’s very common for patients to ask their providers to repeat things, and doctors have a responsibility to make sure their patients understand what is going on.
In fact, it’s very common for people to forget some–or most–of the medical information a doctor shares during an appointment. Bring a notebook with you to take notes, or jot them down in your phone. You can also ask to audio record your doctor’s explanation so you can listen to it later, or you can check to see if they provide a printed or emailed explanation following your appointment.
4. How can I contact you if I think of any other questions?
It can be difficult to think of follow-up questions about your diagnosis or treatment on the spot, especially when you are trying to process a lot of new information. Having a way to get in touch with your provider after the appointment is key. Whether it’s by phone, email, or through an app, you should be able to reach your provider after your appointment ends.
- What can I be doing at home to help? Are there any movements or exercises you recommend?
Many providers, especially pelvic floor physical therapists, will be able to recommend exercises and things you can do in between appointments to help alleviate your symptoms. If you are preparing for your first visit with a PFPT, there are some additional questions related to your specific treatment you can ask.
During your appointment, your provider will most likely ask some detailed questions about your symptoms, such as how long you’ve been experiencing them and how they’re affecting your life. You may be unsure of how to answer these questions or explain what you’re feeling. This is very common, and we have a few suggestions to help you have this discussion:
- Does it feel like you’re sitting on a ball or like something is falling out? You might be experiencing heaviness, fullness, or pressure in your vagina.
- Jot down a few notes on when you notice your symptoms, what you are doing and how they feel on a scale of 1-10. Also note when and if your symptoms go away or lessen. Looking for something to help you keep track of this? Our free printable Pelvic Health Symptom Tracker provides an easy way for you to log your experience.
- If you are able to, take pictures ahead of time. Having photos to show your doctor can help you clearly communicate what’s going on, even if you aren’t sure how to describe it.
We hope you find these questions and tips helpful as you prepare for your appointment. We also know that it can be comforting and reassuring to hear the stories of other people who have gone through a similar experience. You’re not alone–we promise! Read our founder Lauren’s story here, or if you are interested in sharing your POP/pelvic health journey with us, we’d be honored! Get in touch to learn more or ask any questions you may have.
**Medical Disclaimer: This post is intended to provide information and resources only. This post or any of the information contained within should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the guidance of your qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your healthcare, conditions, and recommended treatment.