Introduction to Pelvic Health




It is critical that rehabilitation professionals who work with female patients suffering from incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction have a comprehensive understanding of the factors that impact continence and dysfunction.  This course is divided into two parts; Part One consists of a self-paced online course and Part Two consists of a 2-day lab.  Participants may register for part one only but must complete part one in order to participate in the part 2 lab sessions. 

In Part One (EXFRM 2703), participants will gain theoretical knowledge of the female anatomy, physiology and function of the healthy pelvis and pelvis floor, pathophysiology, and mechanisms of dysfunction. Part 1 is open to all healthcare professionals with an interest in female pelvic health.  

Students in the University of Alberta MScPT Program should complete PTHER 554 Pelvic Health to receive credit for Part 1.

In Part Two (lab) vaginal and rectal exams (female) will be demonstrated and practiced. Participants will practice on each other and should come prepared to be both clinician and patient for internal and external sessions. Males who would like to participate in the Part II lab are required to bring their own female model for participation.  Behavioral techniques and pelvic floor muscle re-education for female patients with pelvic floor dysfunction will be discussed and practiced. Part 2 is restricted to licensed physical therapists licensed Occupational Therapists OR physical therapists who have completed credentialing through the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR). 

Note that these courses are not intended for professionals working in male pelvic health practice. 

Pelvic health has regulatory requirements, to ensure you meet the authorization requirements of your regulatory body please ensure you review those specific requirements and ensure they are met by taking parts I and II.  College of Physiotherapists of Alberta requirements can be found at:

Now accepting registrations for:

  • PART TWO (Lab) October 14-15, 2023 (FULL).  Additional lab dates for April 2024 will be posted shortly.

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Contact for more information.

Fee Payment

Part 1 (online course): $300 course fee (plus tax).

Course Fee Payment

A full refund is provided up until the first day of the course.  After the first day there a $50 administration fee will be withheld.

Part 2 (2 day lab): $600.

Lab Fee Payment

A full refund is provided up until one week before the scheduled lab date.  Any refund requests after that will be charged a $75 administration fee.

Course Offerings

Now accepting applications for Part 1 (online course) and Part 2 Lab


Part One: Online Course
This portion of this course covers theoretical knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and function of the healthy pelvis and pelvis floor and pathophysiology mechanisms of dysfunction.  Participants will gain a better understanding of the factors involved in patient assessment during the clinical history section. Prerequisites - none. 

Content Areas:

  • Introduction to bladder diary
  • Anatomy of the bladder, urethra, perineum, vagina and uterus
  • Types of urinary incontinence
  • Normal pelvic floor
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction Micturition
  • Medical evaluation and procedures
  • Pharmacological management
  • Urodynamics
  • Surgery
  • Mechanical devices 
  • Clinical history
  • Skin care and conditions
  • Containment products
  • Pelvic floor exercises
Part Two: Lab

Vaginal and rectal exams will be demonstrated and practiced. Participants will practice on each other and should come prepared to be both clinician and patient for internal and external sessions.  Behavioral techniques and pelvic floor muscle re-education for patients with pelvic floor dysfunction will be discussed and practiced. Prerequisite - part 1.

Lab Fee Payment

Part 1: All online learning activities will be delivered asynchronously so students have the ability to work through the learning activities at their own pace.  Students will be provided with clear learning objectives and learning activities for each module. Students can also ask questions through an online question and answer forum which will be monitored by the course instructor. Part 2 consists of a 2-day lab. 
There are no formal assessment requirements.  Instead, students will be required to complete a knowledge check quiz before moving onto the following module. To successfully complete the course students will need to progress through all modules and knowledge checks within the duration of the course. 
How to Apply

To apply to Part 1 use the application link below to submit some brief contact information. Please complete and submit the application.

Once your interest in the course is approved you will be emailed information on how to register and pay for the course.  Registration and payment is conducted through the UofA Faculty of Extension.

Part 1 - Application (dept consent form)     

Dianne MacDonald, PT.  Dianna has been a physiotherapist for 45 years, 27 of them in women’s health. She is the Rehabilitation Team leader for women’s health at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in the Lois Hole hospital for women. She developed the out-patient clinic for the treatment of incontinence in women and men. She authored “In Control Again”, a personal workbook for the re-education of the pelvic floor. She has contributed to public education and awareness of incontinence and menopause on TV and public forums. Dianna has lectured, organized and participated in many national and international conferences, courses and workshops. Recent research activities include “Managing urinary incontinence in elderly village women in Bangladesh: a feasibility study for a community exercise-based intervention.” (co-investigator) and “Physiotherapy for Stress Urinary Incontinence: Feasibility Study for a Randomized Controlled Trial of Hip External Rotation Exercise Training versus Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise Training” (principle investigator).
Upon successful completion of Part 1 and/or Part 2 participants will be issued a faculty digital certificate noting the number of educational hours.  After completion of part 1 your results will also appear on an official University of Alberta transcript for non-credit courses.