Pelvic Floor Assessment – Ultrasound versus Internal vaginal Examination

By Healthweb | March 11, 2015

There are 2 ways the Pelvic Floor Muscle is commonly assessed

One method  is with  a Real Time Ultrasound (RTUS).

Ultrasound gives a picture of the muscles and shows if they move with a contraction, which can be very useful for the patients, enabling them to see what is physically happening. It is less invasive as it can be used on the lower stomach, however it does not give any information about the strength or tone of the pelvic floor.

It does not show tight or tender muscles and it cannot show whether the muscles are overworking. Ultrasound can be uncomfortable as you need a full bladder to see what is happening.
Ultrasound used alone does not allow a physiotherapist to prescribe the best exercises for you to help improve pelvic floor muscles issues, as they do not have the entire picture of your problem.

The second way to assess the pelvic floor is through an internal vaginal exam, where a gloved finger is inserted into the vagina.
A vaginal exam can be very daunting and may feel invasive but please be aware the physiotherapist’s at Physiotherapy for Women have ample training in this area. During an exam you can stop at anytime if you do not feel comfortable — you are in charge!
The advantages of a vaginal examination:

• We can assess if there are any tender areas or in the muscle.
• We can assess if you are not able to relax your pelvic floor – which is just as important as being able to tighten it!

Over all a vaginal examination gives the us a much better picture of your problem.  This then gives us the information to manage or treat this problem effectively.