“I wish I was told how to take care of my Pelvic Floor after I had my babies,” lamented a nurse who recently walked into my clinic.
Her sentiment echoed mine.
We, both healthcare professionals, found ourselves on the confusing journey of discovering our pelvic floors later in life, particularly after motherhood.
This got me thinking: If professionals like us weren’t informed enough before childbirth, what about countless other women out there?
In this blog, you will gain an understanding of the pelvic floor, the role of the pelvic floor in pregnancy, and the importance of physical therapy in improving pelvic health.
Let's get into it.
Understanding The Pelvic Floor
Before we deep dive, let's get our basics right.
The pelvic floor is a complex, layered structure of muscles that spans the base of your spine, cradling vital organs like the bladder, uterus, and bowel.
But it’s not just a passive hammock; it’s an active player in the body's orchestra, influencing everything from our posture to our intimate health.
The Pelvic Floor's Role In Pregnancy And Childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirth can be likened to a marathon for the pelvic floor.
It stretches, holds, and then undergoes the massive task of aiding in childbirth. It’s no wonder that the pelvic floor doesn’t always bounce back immediately after.
Ready to hear the symptoms of an Overwhelmed Pelvic Floor?
Involuntary Bladder Leaks
What it means: Often termed Urinary Incontinence, this refers to the unintentional leakage of urine. It can range from small droplets released during a sneeze to a complete emptying of the bladder.
Causes: While it’s a common postpartum symptom due to the strain childbirth puts on the pelvic muscles, it can also result from weakened pelvic muscles, overactive bladder muscles, or nerve damage. Factors like aging, obesity, and certain medical conditions can also increase the risk.
Potential Remedies: Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels, lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, surgical interventions can help manage or eliminate this issue.
What it means: This involves persistent or intermittent pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvic region. It may be sharp, aching, or cramp-like.
Causes: Pelvic discomfort can arise from a myriad of causes, from pelvic floor muscle spasms to endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, or even pelvic inflammatory disease.
Potential Remedies: Treatment can range from physical therapy, pain management techniques, medications targeting the specific cause, and in some severe cases, surgery.
Lower Back And Hip Pain
What it means: Pain or discomfort in the lumbar region or around the hip joints. It might be continuous or might flare up during specific activities.
Causes: While there are many causes for back and hip pain when associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, it's often due to an imbalance or weakness in the pelvic muscles. This can lead to undue strain on adjacent structures, including the lower back and hips.
Potential Remedies: Strengthening exercises targeting the core and pelvic floor, posture correction, ergonomic adjustments, and pain relief treatments can be beneficial.
Altered Bowel Movements
What it means: This can range from constipation to diarrhea, and even fecal incontinence. There might be changes in frequency, consistency, or feeling during bowel movements.
Causes: Weakened or overly tight pelvic floor muscles can interfere with the ability to effectively evacuate or hold in stool. Other associated conditions might include irritable bowel syndrome or bowel obstructions.
Potential Remedies: Dietary adjustments, medications, bowel training, and biofeedback therapy can offer relief. For some, pelvic physical therapy targeting the rectal muscles can also be beneficial.
What it means: Pain or discomfort during or after sexual intercourse, which might deter individuals from engaging in intimate activities.
Causes: Vaginismus (involuntary tightening of the pelvic muscles), vulvodynia (vulvar pain), or scars from childbirth or surgery can lead to painful intimacy. Hormonal changes, infections, or other underlying gynecological conditions might also play a role.
Potential Remedies: Pelvic floor physical therapy can be a game-changer. Lubricants, medications to manage pain or hormonal imbalances, and counseling or sex therapy can also help.
The symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction can significantly impact an individual's daily life.
Recognizing them and seeking appropriate care is vital to improving quality of life.
Why We Need To Talk More About The Pelvic Floor
For decades, fitness industries have raved about six-packs and strong backs.
But the pelvic floor? It’s been left in the shadows.
Yet, its health impacts not only our physical well-being but also our emotional and mental landscapes.
A compromised pelvic floor can influence self-esteem, intimate relationships, and overall quality of life.
Chronic pelvic issues are common after pregnancy and childbirth, and should no longer be ignored!
Empowering Every Woman: Download Our Free Expert Report
Knowledge is empowering.
The more we know about our bodies, the better equipped we are to care for them.
Whether you're a new mother, navigating menopause, or anywhere in between, understanding your pelvic floor is a gift you owe yourself.
Don't let pelvic pain keep you down.
Check out our guide, "13 Problems that a Pelvic Physical Therapist Can Help You Solve."
Inside, you'll find easy exercises, stretches, and tips to help kick that pain to the curb.
Written by our very own expert physical therapist, Kimberly Schwarze.
Dive into a world of expert insights, practical tips, and the promise of a healthier tomorrow.
Improve Your Pelvic Health With Us Today
Every individual's health journey is unique, and we truly understand that.
That's why we're rolling out a special offer on our Pelvic Ultrasound assessments at a HEAVILY DISCOUNTED rate of $15.
This comprehensive scan will allow us to understand the current health of your pelvis, and allow us to offer you personalized advice tailored to your needs.
And here’s the cherry on top: Should you choose to continue with a treatment plan, the $15 from the assessment will be deducted from your ensuing payment – essentially making your assessment FREE!
Think of this as an affordable investment towards a healthier future.
Can't make it to our clinic? No worries! We're also offering FREE Telephone Consultations (We genuinely love speaking with you all!).
Our dedicated team is here to answer your queries and guide you through your next steps.
Connect with Highland Physical Therapy today – because you deserve the best in care!
Additional Free Resources For Your Pelvic Floor
Download Our Free Pelvic Pain Report
Read Our Blog- 5 Things That Can Make Your Knee Pain Worse
Follow Us On Social Media - Highland Physical Therapy Facebook and Highland PT Instagram