Let’s face it — talking about certain topics can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable. As kids, many of us were taught that discussing bathroom habits and sexual issues was not acceptable or taboo. It only makes sense then, as grown women, that we generally shy away from bringing up topics related to bladder and bowel control, sexual discomfort, and pain “down there”, which all happen to be symptoms of pelvic floor disorders.
More often than not, women experience symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, such as pelvic pain, bladder pain, urinary leaks, constipation and pain during sex for six years before pursuing medical help. At times, the muscular pelvic system isn’t quite necessarily the source of the pain, but the muscles are almost always involved in some sort of way.
There are very distinct causes for pelvic pain that lead to very different treatment plans, and these are plans that only a professional can help guide.
Luckily, more healthcare providers are endorsing pelvic floor physical therapy before, or as an alternative to, surgery.
Women who are experiencing any type of pain during sex or pelvic pain in general are encouraged to look into physical therapy as a treatment option. If you’re thinking about seeking pelvic floor therapy, here are some things you should know to be prepared.
For starters, despite popular belief, it’s not solely for new moms. Sturdier, more synchronized pelvic floor muscles are an advantage to everyone, so new mothers aren’t the only ones who benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy.
Another thing to know is how it’s not as invasive as one might believe.
Anything mentioning the term “pelvic” sounds clinical and can make some people automatically picture hospital gowns and feet-in stirrups. The visit will begin by asking questions about your symptoms focusing on those that are most bothersome to you. Your physical therapist should ask for a good amount of information There are certain important factors to address like water intake, how frequently you pee, bowel habits, sexual pain, and taking a look at your back and range of motion. That gives patients a chance to get comfortable with their PT.
Note that pelvic floor rehabilitation is not all about Kegels. Kegels involve contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, which keeps your uterus and bladder in place above your vagina. The idea is to identify the right muscles to contract and relax. One method is to attempt to stop your stream of pee while you’re peeing. If you are able to do this, you’ve got the basic move figured out. (But don’t start and pause your stream on a regular basis, as that may do harm.)
You also might have to re-learn how to do pelvic floor contractions, or if not at the very least learn how to loosen up overly tight pelvic muscles. More contractions aren’t always the best for you, though. Constantly putting tension on your pelvic floor muscles is almost like perpetually having your shoulders stuck in a shrug. It truly has to do with learning to work your pelvic floor muscles the proper way.
“Urine” trouble” if you can’t figure out what else pelvic floor therapy helps with. Believe it or not, it can help you poop!
It can help with toilet troubles; as bowel dysfunction and constipation are progressively prevalent and a cause of sexual pain and urinary leaks. This is because of toilets being created on higher levels to favor an aging population when we’re supposed to be able to perform “when nature calls” in a squatting position.
It has all to do with strength, and nothing to do with weakness. PT is about understanding how to coordinate pelvic floor muscles so they can stimulate at the right time and relax at other times.
Pelvic pain has become the norm for too many people, but that doesn’t mean you should let it be yours. Fixing your floor is worthwhile, and also helps with menopause symptoms. Because it’s such an intimate relationship, it’s critical that you feel secure with your PT since you’re physically and mentally putting yourself in an extremely vulnerable position. The best way to get over that initial discomfort is to find someone who makes you feel relaxed the moment you step into their room.
If you are looking for treatment advice for pelvic floor rehabilitation as well as other women’s health tips, go ahead and book an appointment with Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, by calling 954-473-2011, or visiting Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn office. She is more than willing to help assist you while making sure you are at ease!