Posted in Blog.
Women’s Health Education
What is Women’s Health PT? Way more than just kegels.
Did you know that up to 1 out of every 3 women suffer from pelvic floor related issues including urinary incontinence, pain with sex, and chronic pelvic pain? Patients coming in with hip or low back pain don’t usually expect me to ask, “Do you have any leaking with running? Pain with sex?”, and I am constantly surprised at how many women answer “Yes”!
Everyone deserves to be educated about their body. The pelvic floor is extremely important for everyday function, especially in athletes (female and male alike)! These muscles get very little credit for doing a lot of work and because of where they are located, many men and women may be too embarrassed to discuss any issue they have with pelvic pain or leakage with their PT or even their GP/Gyno.
What Is Your Pelvic Floor..
Your pelvic floor is one of the most important muscle groups that make up the body’s “core.” Just as we are taught that it’s important to work on core stability by planking, pilates, etc, it’s arguably even more important to understand the function of the pelvic floor.
Picture a bowl: your pelvic floor is composed of several layers of muscle tissue forming the bottom of your pelvic bowl from your pubic bone to your coccyx (tailbone), and sit bones on each side. It is designed to support all of your abdominal organs, maintain urinary and fecal continence, play a very important role in your body’s ability to breathe, and is integral to sexual function and controlling orgasm intensity.
This super important network of muscles frequently gets ignored because of it’s delicate location.. which is a such a shame! For athletes and runners, it is imperative that the pelvic floor is functioning properly to ensure adequate load transfer and hip control.
How Dysfunction Can Present..
It’s totally normal to pee a little at mile 8, right? Think again.. Urine leakage during plyometric activity such as hopping, jumping and running can be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction. Leaking of any sort, for that matter, during coughing or laughing can be a sign of dysfunction in those muscles.
Issues can also present themselves as pain. It could present as internal pain during sex, or even discomfort in the hip, groin or low back. Who knew!
Many of us have heard that we should be practicing our kegals, but this only covers a small portion of dysfunction in the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is composed of muscles that are just like any other muscle in your body so in reality, your pelvic floor can be weak (sometimes due to childbirth or trauma), but it can also be overactive or tight. A tight pelvic floor can also result in urinary leakage or other symptoms. If this is the case, kegals can actually be counterproductive. It’s important to get to the root of your problem.
If you suspect you’re having pelvic floor issues, don’t be afraid to get things checked out! There are people out there who can help you. My advice: try to track your symptoms. Does pain only happen during certain times of the month? Do you only leak after you have 5 gallons of coffee? All of these things can help your practitioner figure out where the problem is coming from. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and all questions are welcome. In my experience, a lot of pelvic floor issues can be resolved simply from repositioning the pelvis and restoring normal breathing mechanics via the Postural Restoration Institute. Pelvic floor work may require an internal examination, but it’s not the first step and can be discussed with your practitioner if needed.
Bottom line: If you suspect you may have some pelvic floor symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to a practitioner! No need to suffer through embarrassing symptoms when there are people who can help you. Your vagina doesn’t live in outer space. It’s surrounded by some seriously important muscles that deserve a little more attention. 🙂
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WOMEN’S HEALTH EDUCATION | Wednesday February 20th