Pelvic Floor Physio... Pardon Me?!
Of course I pee when I run, or laugh, or jump on the trampoline, I've had kids, that's just normal now!
All of my girlfriends just wear a pad when they exercise now. Isn't low back pain and a poochy stomach par for the coarse now that I'm getting older and have carried 3 babies?!
Just because society is telling us that something is common doesn't mean that it is normal! Sure Brooke Burke tries to make light of the 'light bladder leaks' on Poise commercials, but you don't need to spend $1,200 a year on ugly disposable adult diapers.
So what do you do?
Many women have never even heard of a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist! But every woman who is pregnant or has had babies should be in regular care of a PF specialist.
If you tore your ACL in a skiing accident would you just assume that pain and dysfunction were what you had to deal with for the rest of your life? or would you seek out a specialist to try and get back to normal and see what can be done to feel better?
What do they do?
During an appointment with a PF Physio you will be asked a ton of questions about your pregnancy, delivery, and current state of affairs. They will ask about pain, exercise, leaking (urine & fecal), sex, posture, heaviness, periods and anything else you can think of that would involve your lady parts. (Inside scoop: it is all connected!)
Then once they have an idea of what to look for they will ask you to strip down and hop up on the table. This is where the uncomfortable part comes... They will insert a finger into your vagina and do an internal examination (110% only if you give consent!!!! They must ask you every single time and be certified to perform internal exams!). They will be looking for tension, tone, laxity, imbalances, trigger points (knots), scar tissue, pelvic organ prolapse and structural layout (yes it shifts after pregnancy).
They will ask you to do some gentle breathing and pelvic floor contractions (Kegals) and relaxation of the muscles too. Depending on their findings and your history of symptoms a rectal exam may also be suggested. Even more uncomfortable, but this might be necessary for some.
And if there is prolapse suspected, please have them do a standing exam to get an idea of how your organs are being held in place against gravity!
By no means should there be any pain with this exam. They are highly trained and this is their job! They take the vagina and all of your lady parts very seriously and with the utmost respect. If you are uncomfortable, just tell them and they can help guide you through it.
Then comes the homework! Anyone who has been to physio knows that they always leave with a list of exercises, stretches and lifestyle changes to implement at home. Physiotherapists want to set you up for success in your Activities of Daily Life! Sure it is great if you can give a rockstar Kegal during the exam, but how is your strength and tone throughout the rest of your day? When you are bouncing a babe on your hip for the entire 'witching hours' or lugging heavy carseat buckets in and out of the car 3x a day, those are the times we want a healthy pelvic floor most! You also want to think long term. Healthy pelvic floors (ability to contract and relax in a proper rhythm and effectively under load), are important for sexy time with your hubby, for intense HIIT classes, or a run with your dog and for Netflix marathons of Glow (so funny!). And contrary to what your or some pregnancy magazine will tell you, it isn't all about 100 Kegals, 3x a day! You could be carrying too much tension!
The PF even takes a hit as you enter menopause (seriously it never gets a break!).
So now is the best time to call your local Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and book in with her pronto! (sometimes they have several months waits before you can get in)
The uncomfortableness only lasts a few minutes and they can set you up for a lifetime of success! 100% worth it in my books.
If you have any questions I would be happy to chat with you!
I can also help direct you to qualified specialists in your area! My Pre & Postnatal Certifications have me in contact with experts all over the world.