How to see a women's health physio in the U.K.
Women’s health physiotherapy in the U.K. is available both privately and via the NHS. Which you access may depend on the availability of treatment where you live and your financial means.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as urinary or faecal incontinence, pain during or after sex, or a feeling of heaviness in your vagina, the best first step is to book an appointment with your GP. Be prepared to describe the symptoms you are experiencing, when you are experiencing them, and the impact they are having on you. Your GP may ask some questions about whether you are doing your pelvic floor muscle exercises. Don’t be afraid to tell your GP if you are not sure about your technique or if doing the exercises seems to have made your symptoms worse. Furthermore, your GP is likely to ask you some more general screening questions so as to be confident that your symptoms are not secondary to a different gynaecological or medical problem e.g. infection (pelvic pain).
Depending on where you live, your GP may be able to refer you on to see an NHS women’s health physiotherapist or may give you the details of the local NHS service for you to self-refer.
Generally, women who experience a 3rd or 4th degree tear during childbirth are likely to receive an automatic referral for women’s health physiotherapy from their midwife. If you are fairly newly postnatal, experienced a 3rd or 4th degree tear and think you may have slipped through the net, please speak with your midwife or GP.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as the ones described above, or you are symptom-free but keen to have a general check-up with a women’s health physiotherapist, for example because you are postnatal or perimenopausal, you may be able to locate a private practitioner close to where you live. Simply google “women’s health physio [insert location]” as shown below, see which results come up and visit the relevant website(s).
Alternatively, try the search facility on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website - you’ll need to enter your postcode and choose the specialty women’s health, as shown below.
Going private of course means you will have to pay for the appointment yourself. Costs will vary from practice to practice, but by way of indication, a private one-hour postnatal check in London with our Helen Keeble or one of her associates costs £95.
If you have private health insurance, see if your provider and policy will cover all or part of the treatment cost and, if so, which practitioners near to you they cover. This will vary from one insurance company to the next.