PELVIS, THAT’S SEXY.
It’s the place of passion and intimacy. Thrusts and desire.
Pelvic Floor dysfunction? No one wants to go there.
Why is it that the place that is on everyone’s mind is also the place we are most afraid to address when there are problems?
Let’s talk about it. Both men and women have pelvic floors. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the base of our pelvis that act in relationship to the regional muscles above and below and the diaphragm. They never work in isolation. The pelvic floor muscles are what hold your innards, your reproductive organs, bladder, and intestines, in place. When your pelvic floor isn’t strong and healthy some pretty awful symptoms emerge.
•Pelvic Pain can be a result of previous trauma, heavy lifting, prolonged cycling, birthing injuries (tearing or episiotomies), chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal surgeries, endometriosis, bladder pain, poor breathing patterns, and posturing and/or poor toileting behaviors. The brain protects the pelvic floor first over any other area in the body.
•Urinary Incontinence may be normal after the first three months of delivering a baby. However, it is not normal for it to last longer. Do you know in France women are provided 10 physical therapy visits post-partum to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction? About 62% of National Collegiate Athletic Association and 20% high school females experience urinary incontinence — no babies involved. Women who have never had babies but never sat on a toilet seat (hoverers) can develop incontinence due to poor muscular coordination.
•Urinary Urgency/Frequency is when the bladder takes your brain hostage. Our brain is in charge and when we need to go to the bathroom, we suppress that urgency until it becomes convenient to find a bathroom. Urgency occurs when the bladder begins to inappropriately contract telling the brain that it needs to empty, Now! Instead of being calm and suppressing the urge, we frantically look for the next bathroom. This is primarily a faulty communication of our nervous system between the bladder and brain. One man I treated went pee 24 times a day and five times at night! He was very thankful when he slept through the night and only urinated 8-10 times a day with large normal volumes in just eight weeks. No drugs needed.
•Pelvic Organ Prolapse (organs falling out of place) can develop after one or multiple births, chronic coughing, poor lifting habits, obesity, weakened pelvic floor musculature, chronic constipation or bad toileting posturing and behaviors. Some male Olympic weightlifters suffer from rectal prolapse, which is a pelvic floor dysfunction and poor coordination of the system during heavy lifting.
•Pre-Natal/Post-Partum Musculoskeletal Complaints are common like back pain, sacroiliac joint pain, pubic pain, diastasis recti, carpal tunnel, De Quervain Syndrome, and incontinence. These symptoms can be calmed down and resolved with appropriate therapies and education.
So do you map your day of errands by where the bathrooms are in town? Do you leak when you sneeze or jump? Do you put your key in the door and immediately go to the bathroom? Do you pee frequently, piddly amounts? “Just In Case Pee?” Wear panty liners or Depends™ to protect yourself? Loose feces by accident? Women, do you experience heaviness in your vagina and feel like things are “falling out?” Men do you experience pain with intercourse or erection/ejaculation?
Thank goodness, there is a solution! Specialty trained pelvic floor physical therapists are out there and ready to get you back in action and out of discomfort and potential embarrassment. We begin with a detailed history of your bowel/bladder habits, toileting habits, and surgical/medical history and then perform an in-depth physical examination of your breathing, spine, pelvis and pelvic floor. From our assessment, we will educate you on your diagnosis and teach proper Kegel techniques if they are appropriate. If you have high tone, pain or multiple trigger points — we will ask you to stop your Kegels until the area is normalized. We may perform gentle techniques to your abdomen and pelvic floor to relieve your pain and teach you proper breathing and relaxation/meditation. We will also teach you how to coordinate your true inner core and pelvic floor muscles, thus integrating your pelvic floor into function to eliminate your symptoms.