A healthy pelvic floor, because who said peeing your pants was cool?
From one of my favorite 90's comedies, Billy Madison says "everyone my age pees their pants...you ain't cool unless you pee your pants". Although hilarious, this unfortunately has become the norm and expectation for many women, especially for women post-partum. I'm here to tell you this doesn't and shouldn't have to be your reality. Every time you jump or sneeze you shouldn't be leaking. This isn't just a normal part of aging or birthing a child. There is help out there for you. So save your money on panty liners and consider a more holistic and long term solution. Physical therapy for pelvic floor rehabilitation is just starting to get more acknowledgment but still very few have ever even heard of it let alone know what it involves. Am I a candidate for pelvic floor physical therapy? This might be a question you are now asking yourself. If you leak when you jump/run/sneeze/cough, if you can't make it to the bathroom when you have the urge to urinate, if you are getting up more than 3 times per night to urinate, if you have pain during intercourse, or even if you have an old back or hip injury that doesn't seem to go away with traditional physical therapy; then these are all reasons to go in for a physical therapy evaluation. Unfortunately these issues rarely "just go away" on their own. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that have many purposes and just like all muscles in the body can become dysfunctional. Just because of their location they should not be ignored.
During a physical therapy evaluation your physical therapist will likely assess your internal pelvic floor using one finger via the vagina. She will be determining if your pelvic floor muscles are too tight. Are they tender or are there trigger points within the muscles? And how strong are they? More often than not the pelvic floor muscles are too tight, which makes it difficult for them to contract and therefore also too weak. This can lead to leaking urine and also pelvic pain or pain during intercourse. This is where the big misconception about kegels comes in. If your pelvic floor is too tight, kegels will only make this problem worse. The treatments then will include relaxation or strengthening exercises for the pelvic floor and if the pelvic floor is too tight internal pelvic floor muscle release (which is basically gentle massage of the muscles via the vagina). The assessment and treatments should not be painful and should not be compared to anything like a Pap smear or pelvic exam. Although, for many it may be slightly uncomfortable initially to have someone working on these muscles vaginally. Trust me from personal experience; you get over this really quick when you realize how beneficial and valuable the treatment is. This kind of treatment is personal and often emotional to unlock such a guarded and often secret problem, so finding a therapist you trust and connect with is important.
I could go on and on because I am very passionate about informing women that there is help out there for us. It is such a common problem and you shouldn't be ashamed or living with these issues in silence. Please contact me with any questions or for treatment. SarahkinsleyPT@outlook.com or (253)820-2107.