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Physiotherapy and pelvic floor health within a contemporary biopsychosocial model of care: From research to education and clinical practice

Corlia Brandt
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 77, No 1 | a1538 | DOI: | © 2021 Corlia Brandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2020 | Published: 20 May 2021

About the author(s)

Corlia Brandt, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a common problem in both men and women. Despite the high prevalence and negative effects on quality of life, there is still a lack of research in this area which translates into clinical practice and education.

Objectives: My study discusses how gaps and controversies in current research and evidence on PFD might be addressed by positioning PFD within a contemporary biopsychosocial model of care (BPSM).

Method: Various databases were searched for relevant studies published between 2010 and 2020 to support hypotheses and statements.

Results: My study focuses on the available evidence of PFD in both men and women as related to the themes and sub-themes of the BPSM, and how this available evidence might translate into education and clinical practice. It highlights areas of research, education and clinical practice that need to be explored and how the different components of healthcare may influence one another.

Conclusion: Biomedical aspects regarding pelvic health are mostly investigated and taught, whilst psychological, cognitive, behavioural, social and occupational factors, individualised care, communication and therapeutic alliances are still under-investigated and not integrated or translated at a sufficient level into research, education and clinical practice.

Clinical implications: Incorporating the integration of all factors of the BPSM into research is important for effective knowledge translation and enhancement of a de-compartmentalised approach to management. The interaction between the different components of the BPSM should be investigated especially in a South African population.


pelvic health; biopsychosocial model; evidence; research; women’s health; men’s health


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