The invitation to speak as a pelvic physiotherapist in a monodisciplinary urological congress is a great opportunity and honour. It is an opportunity to create awareness regarding state of the art pelvic physiotherapy. Dr.Mehrad, the Iranian representative of the International urogynaecological association (IUGA) special interest group pelvic floor rehabilitation, arranged it all.
For me it was the first time to visit Iran and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. I can now tell you that I had a wonderful time. Everything was organised into great detail. From the pickup at the airport, sightseeing and above all of course the congress.
Although it was a urological congress it was interesting to learn about operations, treatment options etc. I particularly liked the panel on chronic pelvic pain. Although conservative treatment options were mentioned, I think that it would have been even better if a pelvic physiotherapist would have been in the panel to discuss their treatment options into more detail. Physiotherapy is according to the European Urology Association (EAU) guidelines on chronic pelvic pain part of holistic multidisciplinary pain management.
The INUS (International Neuro-Urology Society) lecture with an update of ICS (International Continence Society) terminology was also interesting. Standardising terminology is so important. We all need to speak the same language as that will improve scientific research and the possibility to compare outcome.
As all lectures were only 15 minutes I had to make choices in what to discuss in mine (I can talk for hours……). This was the first lecture on this subject in the IUA. Therefor I presented evidence of pelvic physiotherapy on stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder syndrome and pre- and postoperative prostatectomy. Besides my presentation I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of urologists from both Iran and abroad and talk about pelvic physiotherapy in their country.
From what I have been told pelvic floor muscle training or biofeedback is given by a variety of professions in Iran: midwifes, physiotherapists or even the physician. Unfortunately I haven’t spoken to a colleague physiotherapist who is treating patients (logical as this was a monodisciplinary congress).
Thursday evening we had the gala dinner. It started with a funny demonstration by two urologists on the prevention of amongst other things low back pain. Although I couldn’t understand what was said it was quite clear what they showed. Testing muscles is the same everywhere. There was also beautiful traditional Iranian music and a comidean. The comedian was really funny and we had a good laugh. And then at 11 pm we had dinner. It is normal to have dinner late here, but I think that 11 is even late for Iranian standards. What a difference with Holland.
As I already mentioned there was time for sightseeing as well. I was so happy to be able to visit several palaces and the magnificent jewellery museum. Alireza, our contact was fantastic in organising everything, he really went out of his way to arrange trips, taxis and act as a guide for the international guests. I want to make a comment on the jewellery museum. It is located in the vault of the Iranian bank and after passing security I entered a room with so many diamonds, rubies, emeralds you just cannot imagine. The golden globe (34 kg of gold) with the continents in rubies and diamonds and the seas in emeralds is just amazing.