Did you know that Tricare covers women’s health physical therapy? You might be wondering what exactly a women’s health physical therapist (PT) is? Why might you need to see one? How do you get the necessary referral? I am going to explain it all.
I am a huge advocate for women’s health and wish every woman had access to a women’s health PT. All women, not just moms, can benefit from women’s health physical therapy. As a woman who suffered from pelvic floor dysfunction for six long years, I wish someone had sent me straight to a women’s health PT. Instead, I went to all of the other specialty doctors who just shrugged their shoulders and had no answers for me in the end. It was a very long and frustrating journey, but I learned from it and am now able to make this process easy for you and get you on the path to recovery.
WHEN TO SEE A WOMEN’S HEALTH PT
A women’s health PT is a physical therapist that specializes in pelvic health. I like to refer to them as “vagina doctors.” They are your go-to people for all of your women’s health issues, especially ones dealing with your core and pelvic floor. You may want to see a women’s health PT if any of the following apply to you:
· You are pregnant or have already had children.
· You are suffering from symptoms such as bladder or bowel leakage, lower back and hip pain, pelvic organ prolapse, or painful sex.
· You had any tearing or an episiotomy during childbirth.
· You had a C-section (myofascial release techniques and different scar massage techniques are crucial—take it from a three-time C-section mama).
· You’ve had a hysterectomy.
· You are experiencing hormonal changes that are causing new symptoms (pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause can all affect hormones).
· You have feelings of heaviness. Women often refer to this as “feeling like something is going to fall out of my vagina” or a feeling of sitting on an egg when in the seated position.
· If things just don’t feel right “down there” or you have any new symptoms that don’t feel normal to you.
If you read that list and nodded along and thought “Yes! This is me!” then you have a great reason to head to your primary care doctor and ask for a referral to see a women’s health PT.
GETTING YOUR REFERRAL
You will need a referral to receive coverage of women’s health physical therapy by Tricare. I am currently stationed in Detroit, Michigan and have seen two different women’s health PTs in the last four years. First, when I was having issues with leaking, and then again after my abdominal hysterectomy. Both times I found providers within the network I called to double-check that they accepted Tricare, and then went to my primary care manager (PCM) and requested they put in the referral by name for me. Within seventy-two hours it was approved, and I was authorized twenty-four visits.
TIPS FOR FINDING A WOMEN’S HEALTH PT
We usually think we should go see our OB/GYN for women’s health issues, and while this is a good starting place, a referral to a women’s health PT can be vital for truly treating and resolving pelvic symptoms.
Navigating the Tricare website can be daunting, so here are some ways you can find a good women’s health physical therapist:
· Ask your girlfriends if they have any recommendations.
· Check your installation –– some military installations have women’s health PTs on staff (very limited, but there are about a dozen of them).
· Google “women’s health PT near me” and call to see which ones accept Tricare.
· Talk to your PCM or OB/GYN and see if they have anyone they would recommend.
Please know that women’s health PT is one hundred percent covered by Tricare and a regular PT is different and may not be able to help you with the symptoms mentioned above.
MUTU: YOUR ONLINE WOMEN’S HEALTH EXERCISE PROGRAM
The online MUTU System program complements women’s health physical therapy nicely and is endorsed and recommended by women’s health PTs. MUTU System is a body-positive online workout program designed for moms. The program provides techniques to improve pelvic and abdominal symptoms such as diastasis recti, leaking, painful sex, and prolapse.
If you have any additional questions about women’s health physical therapy I am always available. I know these can be challenging and embarrassing topics to discuss, but I am here to help. If I don’t have the answer I promise to get it for you.
Ashley Gammon is the community manager for M.O.M.S. and the PR executive for MUTU USA. She has made it her mission to bring awareness of pelvic floor and core health to military spouses and female service members across the globe. Her personal journey with MUTU and healing her postpartum body inspired her to bring awareness to military communities. Ashley and her husband have three girls all named after presidents, Mckinley, Madison, and Monroe. Ashley and her family reside in Michigan in their “forever” home after retiring from the Army after 20 years in October 2019.