Let’s get personal. (Warning: Stop reading if you don’t want to hear about my pelvic floor. AKA- guy friends who I’ll be climbing with over the weekend. LOL! And people wonder why pelvic floor issues aren’t talked about and women end up feeling so alone and isolated! You are not alone! Here’s a little TMI below. )
Over the last 6 years, I’ve struggled with both leaking and prolapse. Having babies was not the easiest thing for me. ?I’d love to say it was a quick fix and doing some kegels did the trick, but alas, I had to be super complicated. Not only did kegels not help but it wasn’t pelvic floor tightness to blame, either. My issue wasn’t being caused by my pelvic floor even though my pelvic floor was bearing the brunt of all the symptoms. My pelvis spread during pregnancy and changed the dynamic of how my hip moved in the socket, which stemmed back to an old ankle injury. Pregnancy was the last stick being pulled out from that carefully crafted Jenga puzzle that held me together, I just didn’t realize it at the time. Oh, hindsight! Why must you be such a cruel teacher? That change in pregnancy was my tipping point. Once I finally got to the bottom of it and addressed my hip, it fixed the issue. My pelvic floor got on board and was happy. Sometimes things are complicated. Sometimes you have to keep searching to find answers!! I needed a combination of pelvic floor AND orthopedic knowledge to fix my issue.
I’m bringing both sympathy and empathy to treating the pelvic floor because pelvic floor issues suck!! They are emotional and you feel like your body has completely betrayed you, especially when it happens after having a baby. I just had a baby and this is my thanks?? Taking action and seeking education helps you move past that state and out of victim mode.
I now feel comfy jumping around in colored shorts! No leaks, and a happy pelvic floor.
I rehabbed my own grade 2 prolapse to practically nothing. Almost no bulge and no annoying symptoms.
I can do heavy lifting, running and jumping with no problem now when it all used to give me issues. (If anyone tells you that you can’t run or lift again, tell them they are wrong. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!)
I have great sex. OK, TMI? ?♀️Well, if you’re searching for hope in that area, it is a part of good pelvic floor health. On that note, I feel sexy. Arguably part of the mental component to having great sex! I find that’s something really important pelvic floor issues can rob you of… feeling sexy. Check yourself, and be extremely careful with your self-talk. You are internalizing it!!
A few takeaways that I often see….
- Don’t confuse pelvic floor pain and tightness with prolapse symptoms. I’ve seen women rush into surgery for their prolapse only to discover later they still have the same pain post-surgery because the prolapse didn’t cause the pain, it was tight pelvic floor muscles. Or they have the same leaking post-surgery because it was being caused by tightness and a pressure issue, not the prolapse. Making something “look better” doesn’t always fix issues. (So many life lessons here.)
- Having surgery also doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all and you’re fixed for life. You still need to learn good patterns and improve function!
- There are times where prolapse can cause discomfort but it’s USUALLY not with a low grade prolapse. Find someone who can help you determine the cause!! It’s worth the effort.
- Leaking doesn’t always mean you have pelvic floor weakness and leaking doesn’t always mean more kegels.
- Tightness that keeps coming back after release work needs a better approach! There is a place for release work, but that can’t be the entire solution.
Bottom line— I get it. Pelvic floor issues are personal and they cut deep. If you can, take a moment to set aside the feelings of self pity and of being a victim and let’s get to work making your body stronger and solving this issue!!! It won’t be an overnight transition. At least it wasn’t for me, but if you’re determined so will your progress be. Sending you all the hugs and support!!
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Dr. Sarah Duvall, PT, DPT, CPT and the CES Team have helped thousands of women create the strength and stability needed to overcome common and not-so-common pelvic floor issues.