And make your pelvic health a priority
I’m 48 and the mother of three teenagers. I used to be an avid runner and I had a healthy sex life. Now I have to wear pads while I exercise, I’m constipated and my back aches constantly. One friend told me she sees a pelvic floor physiotherapist. My doctor said surgery is an option down the road if it really starts to bother me.
Help! I’ve never even heard of the pelvic floor before!
By asking this question, you are helping many other women in similar situations! You are not alone.
I was in my 40s, like you, before I ever heard the terms pelvic floor, pelvic health or pelvic floor physiotherapy. (This was AFTER delivering two babies vaginally! It's still shocking to me that nobody as much as uttered the word "pelvic" during either of my pregnancies or post partum care.)
And, if you have watched my TedxTalk, you know how shocked I was to find this photo in an Oprah Magazine in 2016 telling women what to expect in their 50s.
Say what? Pee my pants? CAPITAL NO. THANK. YOU.
Both men and women have pelvic floors, and pelvic floor muscles play a key role in maintaining continence, keeping our internal organs—uterus, bladder and rectum—in place, and sexual satisfaction.
It is shocking that such an important part of our health remains so under-discussed.
Marketers, media and even the medical community do a good job of highlighting options such as pads, medications and surgery, but women have been let down by the lack of quality pelvic health education, particularly when it comes to prevention.
I envision a future where pelvic floor physiotherapy is offered as the first line of defense to prevent, assess and treat incontinence, organ prolapse, pain with sex and even back pain.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is an essential group of muscles that form the base of the pelvis, along with ligaments, tendons, a huge blood supply and many different nerves. They attach to the pubic joint, the tailbone and the sits bones (those two boney parts in our butt cheeks.)
Pelvic floor muscles influence the sphincters, help us decide if we need to pee, poo or fart, and if it is okay to do so. They keep our organs in place, play an essential role in our body’s stability and a key role in sexual satisfaction.
What is a pelvic floor physiotherapist?
Pelvic floor physiotherapists are physiotherapists with additional training and certification in the pelvic floor. Ideally, we would all see a pelvic floor physiotherapist preventatively—the same way we go to the dentist regularly.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists assess, educate and treat incontinence (bladder and bowel), organ prolapse (bladder, uterus or rectum), and pain (pain with sex, joint pain, back pain.) They can help women avoid surgery, if that is a priority. And they also support women post-surgery.
One of the biggest myths is that peeing a little when you run, jump, cough, laugh or sneeze is “just part of being a woman.” It is not. Leaking urine for a woman also means leaking confidence—and it can wreak havoc on so many other areas of her life by restricting movement, limiting social outings, and significantly impact personal and sexual relationships.
Another myth is that women can expect to be constipated. Constipation is a signal from your body that something requires attention. It could be digestion-related or it could be a symptom of prolapse where the rectum has bulged into the vagina. The connection between constipation and pelvic floor health is not well known, and diet, hydration and digestion are areas where working with a pelvic health professional can be beneficial.
How much does it cost?
This is a common question. If you have extended health coverage that includes the services of a physiotherapist, pelvic floor physiotherapy is included. If you are unsure, ask!
Typically, pelvic floor physiotherapy fees are in the $150-$200 range per visit. Compared to the cost of incontinence pads for the next 30, 40 or 50 years, which can equate to $1500 per year and are not covered by insurance plans, it’s a steal!
I do look forward to a day when pelvic floor physiotherapy is regarded as an investment and accessible for all women.
Not going to the dentist can cost us our dental health.
Not seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist can cost us our pelvic health.
My first pelvic floor physiotherapy experience:
Listen in as Lacey guides me through my first #pelvicfloorphysiotherapy appointment. I'm sharing so you will know what you expect--and then accept my challenge to book your own appointment! Let me know when you do!