What is a Pelvic Floor Exam?

Imagine taking your car to the mechanic for a service and the mechanic asks you a few questions, takes a look at the car and passes you the bill without taking a look under the bonnet…

If you are seeing the Physiotherapist for a Pelvic Floor related concern, an internal Pelvic Floor exam may be recommended.

Before the internal examination is considered, your physiotherapist will determine why you have come for an assessment including your goals, and what your symptoms are. They will review your past medical history and ask about the treatments you may have already tried for your symptoms. Discussing your history will provide a good indication of what assessment and treatment techniques may be needed.

Next, your physiotherapist will take a look at your breathing, posture (not just your pelvis), check movements of your joints and assess muscle strength as well as how the connective tissues relate to your pelvis from the outside- a holistic approach.

An internal pelvic exam is not mandatory but is the gold standard to assess how your pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue within the pelvis are working. An internal exam may be highly recommended to further investigate the symptoms you are describing or to prevent conditions from occurring. However, your physiotherapist will first discuss and show you where your pelvic floor muscles are located on a model, how these muscles are assessed as well as inform you of any pros and cons associated with carrying out an internal exam in regards to your goals.


The patient will disrobe from the waist down- including removal of underwear and position herself on the plinth draped with a towel. Using lubricant, the therapist will proceed to part the labia to visualise the vulva, perineum and anus. At this point, if you are seeking management for pelvic pain, your Women’s Health Physiotherapist will perform a Q-tip test to assess for tissue sensitivity. For my post-natal mummies and mummies who present with pelvic organ prolapse concerns, a measurement called GH + PB (Genital Hiatus + Perineal Body) is performed to determine level of pelvic floor support or tissue distensibility from the urethra to anus. A measurement is taken at rest and on strain (think like trying to blow up a balloon for 6 seconds).

An internal vaginal exam involves the insertion of 1 or 2 fingers into the vagina to individually assess for

  • position of pelvic organs
  • sources of pain or discomfort
  • integrity of pelvic ligaments
  • muscle strength, endurance, co-ordination and tone

This is the gold-standard and gives us the most detailed information about your pelvic floor structures.


Alternatives exist such as Real Time Ultrasound (trans-abdominal or trans-perineal) and external palpation (with and without clothing on), should you not wish to complete an internal pelvic exam. The difficulty with these alternatives is that they don’t give that level of detail (pain, muscle performance etc.).

You will always be asked to provide consent before any assessment or treatment is provided.

You are ALWAYS able to remove consent at any time.

If you wish to learn more about the pelvic floor exam or address your pelvic floor concerns, please do call/WhatsApp on 9780 7274 or get in touch over email.

You can also visit our website to learn about other women’s conditions we treat through physiotherapy and how we can help you.

5 Star Google Reviews
Embrace Physiotherapy is committed to 5 star client satisfaction.

I highly recommend Embrace. Unlike most, my journey with them was a little different. It was treatment for my pelvic floor recovery post L5S1 fusion with cauda equina. My therapist Brenda was fantastic. Not only was she very professional, but she made me very comfortable from the very 1st minute. Always encouraging, I felt assured and confident with her during my recovery period. Today i got discharged after a 4 month treatment and i cant thank Brenda more. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

thumb Haryati Richli
January 24, 2022

I've been to Embrace several times now and for treatment of different injuries. Brenda is professional, compassionate and most importantly knows what she's doing. I'd recommend her treatment to others and will be undoubtedly be going back myself

thumb Tania Pfeiffer
July 6, 2022

I had a great experience at Embrace physiotherapy with Dr Preet. I started my journey the last trimester of my pregnancy to assess my pelvic floor strength and relaxation level. Dr Preet helped me go through until the end of my pregnancy with exercise plan for the pelvic floor, my hips and quads. My delivery went very smoothly and I am lucky to not have tear or abs separation. I went back after delivery to strengthen back my pelvic floor and got discharge with the chance to fully get back to my usual sport practice. Dr Preet has been wonderful. She listens to your needs carefully and take the time to evaluate your body range of movement. It was also nice to feel understood and share experience as a new mother.

thumb Meggie CL
April 29, 2022

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