Pelvic floor symptoms historically are neglected by the medical community. Dismissing valid symptoms and offering ridiculous remedies cause women to power through what they are feeling and ultimately causes more damage.
The Tummy Team was actually created to help validate, educate and offer clinically proven solutions for common core and pelvic floor symptoms. Sadly, we have personally experienced this medical neglect and have heard horror stories from clients over the years of working with women with core and pelvic floor symptoms. The most heartbreaking component of this work is how often the majority of what we see could have been prevented and could be resolved with appropriate advice and functional core and pelvic floor rehab.
Our team collaborated to share alternative advice for the 4 most common areas of concern regarding the pelvic floor. This is what we wish we had heard when we were asking our doctors about our pelvic floor symptoms.
1. Urinary Incontinence Questions:
“Why am I wetting my pants every time I laugh?”
“When will I be able to exercise and not wear a pad and smell like urine?”
“Even right after I pee if I sneeze, I wet my pants. Why?”
The answer hat would have been helpful: Yes, that is very frustrating! There are several reasons this could be happening and even though it is quite common, it is not normal. Typically the cause is due to trauma to the pelvic floor and muscle imbalances in the core and pelvic floor muscles. Those muscles need to be re-trained after trauma or childbirth. The good news is that once there is balance in the core and pelvic floor, in most cases the leaking will subside. Let’s look at getting you a referral to a pelvic floor specialist and then we will follow up in a few weeks and see how everything is going.
2) Pelvic Organ Prolapse Questions:
“Something does not feel right down there when I wipe like there is a bulge that was not there before. What is that?”
“Why do I feel pressure in my vaginal canal after sex?”
“There is a heaviness in my pelvic floor that I feel the most when I am carrying the baby or on my feet all day. Is that normal?”
The answer that would have been helpful: These feelings sound like you might have some level of pelvic organ prolapse. Prolapse can be very uncomfortable and a concerning pelvic floor symptom. You probably feel looser than normal, feel more “open” and feel more achiness and heaviness in the pelvic floor. You might have leaking or sex may feel more uncomfortable.
Several contributing factors could be causing this prolapse. Sometimes it is due to a difficult birth, or chronic bearing down or bulging. Sometimes it happens after years of not rehabilitating the pelvic floor after childbirth and the structural support for your internal organs can weaken and lengthen. In result, those organs can start to fall out, which is fairly common but isn’t normal.
Functional pelvic floor rehab can help you strengthen and balance your pelvic floor and give you techniques to decrease pressure in your pelvic floor in order to support your organs properly inside. This rehab process may take some time to fully resolve depending on how long you have had this or how severe the prolapse but the good news is you will see some improvement pretty quickly and if this is left untreated it will likely get worse. Let us find a pelvic floor specialist for you see.
3) Pain with Intimacy Questions:
“Why does it hurt every time we have sex?”
“Why can I no longer feel anything when I have sex?”
“When will sex feel normal again?”
The answer that would have been helpful: Sex is a really important part of your relationship and it can be very upsetting when it is painful or does not feel right. Pelvic floor Physical therapy can help. Having pain with sex can be a common pelvic floor symptom after a pregnancy, childbirth, trauma, surgery or if the pelvic floor muscles are out of balance. Sometimes it is hard to understand why things do not feel quite right. Powering through or ignoring these symptoms actually can increase fear, apprehension, and pain.
The good news is that most pain with intimacy is completely treatable. Functional pelvic floor training can teach you some strategies as well as working with a pelvic floor specialist. Often the therapist will perform and then teach you some gentle manual therapy techniques as well as pelvic floor down training and relaxing. This combined with appropriate pelvic floor strengthening and core strengthening can help you get you back to pain-free sex. Let’s connect you with a specialist so we help you get healing in this area.
4) Pelvic Pain Questions:
“My tailbone hurts ever since childbirth, will it ever get better?”
“Why do I have deep pain in my vaginal wall at different times in my cycle?”
“Is there anything I can do about this deep pelvic pain?”
The answer the would have been helpful: Deep pelvic pain in the tailbone, pubic bone, hip joint, groin, rectum or vagina can be very debilitating. It is sometimes hard for you to fully pinpoint what is happening when it is tension in really deep pelvic muscles.
First, it is important to understand how those muscles are designed for posture and stability. Simply getting in better alignments and more connected to the core and pelvic floor can resolve some of these compensation caused pain.
It can also be helpful to have a pelvic floor rehab specialist evaluate what is really going on structurally, externally and internally in the pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes it is a muscle weakness, sometimes it is a muscle tightness but most often it is muscle disconnection and poor coordination that is causing muscle imbalance and pain. Let’s get you some resources and connect you to a pelvic floor bodyworker to help get to the bottom of what is going on.
The bottom line is that there is help for pelvic floor symptoms. If your medical professional is unaware of how to advise you, please keep looking. Know that you are not alone. Spend some time understanding how your body was designed, then pursue options to get help.
The Tummy Team offers a lot of free resources as well as several online programs, eSessions with our specialists, and if you are local you could see us at our clinic in Camas WA. The great news is that our approach specifically works with you on how you can help yourself. In fact, what you do out of our clinic is actually more important than what you do with us. It is all about understanding how your body works and helping it work well. We would love to help you!