What Is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
Roughly 24% of women in the U.S. are affected by pelvic floor dysfunction.
Pelvic Floor dysfunction is more common than you might think, even though the conversation is mostly around women, men and children can have problems as well! Not all pelvic dysfunction has crazy symptoms or signs, it can become more apparent over time.
SYMPTOMS OF PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION FOR MEN & WOMEN
Urge to urinate (needing to rush, might not make it in time.)
Need to urinate or have bowel movements very frequently.
Stopping & starting multiple times when urinating.
Constipation or straining to have bowel movement.
Feeling of heaviness or on going pain in pelvic region, genitals or rectum.
Lower back pain that can't be explained for any other reason.
*For women: pain during intercourse
REASONS TO GO TO A PELVIC FLOOR PHYSIO
#1 Better to Prepare & Prevent rather than REPAIR
Prevention would be my first reason to to go a Pelvic Floor Physio (PFP). If you plan on having children, get assessed before, so you can have a better understanding of the current condition of your pelvic floor and if you need to strengthen etc. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, and painful as the baby grows. PFP's can help with things like hip pain, sciatica, or any other issues you might be feeling.
#2 Incontinence is common but NOT NORMAL
The Mom Bladder, "It's just what happens after you've had kids." I have heard this so much, and find that incontinence postpartum is commonly accepted to be normal, "everyone has it". It DOES NOT have to be the case!
Find a physio, take the time to find the right help. Most women have heard of doing Kegel. We were taught about them in school, but I have never felt confident that I have ever been doing them right.
For Example : The most common mistake when doing kegels, is engaging glutes instead of drawing up our pelvic floor muscles.
#3 Empower yourself with Education
Get educated. For me, nothing makes me feel more confident, and comfortable, as knowing and understanding my body. Yes, get to know, and understand, your body, how it works, what you should feel, and how to feel comfortable in it whatever stage your in.
Pictures (Click on picture to see the next.)
Looking down at the pelvic floor muscles.
Side View - The pelvic floor supporting the organs.
Diaphragm and pelvic floor move in sync when we breathe in and out and cause pressure when we hold our breath or suck in.
# 4 It's more than Kegels
You might hear incontinence, and just assume a weak pelvic floor.
For some people that actually could make things worse. Some women can't relax there pelvic floor which results in the same symptoms but needs a different approach. They need to work on relaxing those muscles so when they are needed, they are available.
Let's pretend our pelvic floor is a bicep. Our arm is straight, and if we sneeze we should be able to do a bicep curl, if our pelvic floor is weak, the bicep curl won't happen. Now think of the same thing, but for a tight, already contracted muscle. You would have your hand already at the top of the bicep curl and we sneeze, the muscle is already contracted therefore it can't contract anymore resulting again in incontinence.
The only way to be 100% certain you are contracting your pelvic floor muscles properly is through and internal exam with a PFP.
# 5 Postpartum
Seeing a PFP postpartum would be for many reasons. They will assess you for diastasis, help you with any scar tissue from tearing, make sure you are regaining proper function of the pelvic floor.
PFP after Cesarean is still a good idea, pregnancy alone is overload on the pelvic floor.
Why would a 24 year old, whos never had kids, go to a Pelvic floor Physio?
It was so great to have someone tell me, " I am so glad you came, you shouldn't be having these problems and we can help it."
I have thought for years that it's maybe something I should go do but put it off thinking that I would wait until I started having kids. I have always made excuses like "I have a tiny bladder", I drink so much water.
I have always had lower back pain so it's been something I have always tried to work on between strengthening it and working on posture, but even a trainer needs training! It was so nice to have someone else critic the adjustments I have been trying to make, so helpful!
Everything has made sense, looking at my background with sports and gymnastics, it has been drilled into me to fire glutes, engage the core, etc. Over the next weeks and months I will be working on relaxing my pelvic floor through basics like better breathing, posture and how to incorporate it into my training.
If you have any questions or want help finding a PFP let me know! Did you like this post, find it informative? Would love to hear your thoughts!