Lisa Flanders, Registered Physiotherapist

Connecting you with your Pelvic Floor

Category: Pelvic Floor (page 2 of 2)

10 Reasons Why You Should See A Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist

The number one question I get asked is “How do I know if I should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist”. The short answer is that all pelvic floor dysfunction should be evaluated and if you are not sure, having an evaluation and the education that accompanies can be invaluable.

10 Reasons Why You Should See A Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist

Below are my top ten reasons to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

  1. Connect (or reconnect) with your pelvic floor

I find so many people are disconnected from their private parts. However we use this area everyday!

Having a connection with your pelvic floor is necessary for optimal health and wellness. If you are pregnant, connecting with your pelvic floor will prepare the body for delivery. During childbirth the pelvic floor goes through a beautiful change but can leave the body can feeling disconnected, this is a great time to reconnect.

Understanding and being educated on how your pelvic floor works is the first step to connecting with it.

  1. Gain better bladder control

Running and exercising without leakage, decreasing the frequency of urination and sleeping though the night without waking to urinate are all concerns that a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help with.

 

woman exercise, 10 Reasons Why You Should See A Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist

  1. Stop pelvic pain

Painful intercourse, pain with arousal, painful tampon use and tailbone pain are all concerns that can be treated by a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

  1. Improve your sex-life

If painful intercourse (both women and men) is interfering with your sex-life, a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help.

Additionally, a healthy pelvic floor can lead to stronger and more pleasurable orgasms.

  1. Manage the urgent need to urinate

Do you feel like you have to urinate the moment you get home or every time you are around running water? A pelvic floor physiotherapist will teach you to take control back over your bladder. You can read my story of an urgent bladder here.

  1. Decrease the heavy feeling in your vagina

If you feel heaviness (I usually describe this as the feeling like a tampon isn’t quite in properly) this may be due to a pelvic organ prolapse (the bowel, bladder or reproductive organs falling into the vagina). A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help.

  1. Relieve constipation

Constipation can come from many factors including diet and stress, but can also be related to a tense pelvic floor. Your physiotherapist will evaluate your muscles and can teach you to use them effectively. Toileting positions and education are necessary as well.

  1. Improve your core strength

The pelvic floor is part of the deep core system. The pelvic floor is at the bottom, diaphragm on top (breathing muscle), transversus abdominis at the front (deep abs) and multifidus at the back (deep back muscle). Optimal core function means the pelvic floor must also be functioning optimally.

  1. Decrease low back and pelvic girdle pain

The body is an interconnected system of bones, muscles and connective tissues. The pelvic floor has connections onto the bony pelvis, sacrum and tailbone meaning pain in the low back and pelvic girdle can have influencing factors from the pelvic floor itself.

  1. Have your questions answered in a safe, comfortable, compassionate environment

A pelvic floor physiotherapist is a highly trained, compassionate professional who has undergone additional training to assess and treat pelvic floor dysfunction.

If you still aren’t sure if pelvic floor physiotherapy is right for you, make an appointment to speak to a pelvic floor physiotherapist in your area, your questions will be answered and together you can determine the appropriate course of treatment that is right for you.

Take care of your pelvic health, your body will thank you!

Penguin Walking – An Urgent Bladder Story

Stigma surrounding the pelvic floor

There is a common state of thinking, that we shouldn’t discuss our private parts. Even the phrase “private parts” leads us into thinking that this is a secret that nobody else can know about.

Why is this a taboo topic? There is an assumption that as adults we should be toilet trained and be able to control our bladders. Accidental leakage and/or other bladder dysfunctions can feel embarrassing, as if we don’t have any control. The truth is one in 3 women will experience urinary incontinence in their lives and at least half of all women will experience some form of pelvic floor dysfunction. Interestingly, this is the same statistic as people who experience low back pain. I’m sure you have heard multiple people tell you about their back pain, but when was the last time one of your friends mentioned she peed her pants while trying to make it to the washroom?

You are not alone in this. Below is my story about struggles with urgency and urge incontinence.

Penguin walking

For as long as I can remember up until about 5 years ago, I struggled with something called urgency. Meaning an urgent need to urinate, like right now. Nearly every day I would be on my way home from school (and when I got a bit older this turned into on my way home from work) and I would sort of feel like I had to go to the washroom, but nothing I couldn’t hold. I would arrive home, and from the MOMENT I opened the door, the feeling would overtake me. I would resort to what I call a penguin walk to get to toilet before I peed all over. The penguin walk is where you hold your knees together and waddle as fast as you can toward the washroom.

penguin walking, urgent pee trip, bladder woes

Now the thing is, this didn’t just happen at home, this happened whenever I sort of felt like I had to pee and then got within a 10 meter vicinity of a washroom. I always thought this was a bit weird, like my bladder knew I was close and it was prepping for evacuation. I also thought I was the only one that this happened to, none of my friends had ever mentioned a mad penguin dash to the bathroom.

I will also admit that there were a handful of occasions where I could not hold it and the penguin walk did not help; I leaked A LOT before making it to the washroom. As a teenage girl, I felt embarrassed, yet I would never admit to anyone that this was happening.

Fast-forward a few years. I was sitting in class for my first of many pelvic health courses in Montreal, QC. I was a fairly new graduate and eagerly awaiting to learn how to help people with bladder leakage. Within the first 15 minutes of the 4-day weekend, my wonderful instructor started talking about urgency and referenced putting the key in the door triggering some women’s bladders as a cue to pee. Could it be real I thought, is she reading my mind? Realization clicked in, as I looked around our small classroom and saw the look of familiarity across multiple participants’ faces and I realized I was not alone in this, it was called urgency and it was a common concern in many women.

What is urgency?

Urgency is any pressing need to urinate, often coming on very quickly. There is usually a trigger, something that sets the bladder off like getting home and putting your key in the door (sometimes called latch-key urgency) or being around running water. It can sometimes be related to a urinary tract infection so it is necessary to have your doctor rule out any sign of infection. It is often a miscommunication between our brain and our bladder. Our brain hears, “Oh I’ll just go when I get home” and as soon as we get home, key in the door our brain tells our bladder “You are home, time to go”.

For more information about urgency, incontinence and over-active bladder, click here.

First steps in taking back control over your urgent bladder

Start changing the way your brain thinks; remember, mind over bladder. Slow down and breathe. Instead of saying “I’ll go when I get home”, specify to your brain, “I will pee when my pants are pulled down and I am sitting on the toilet”. Altering your self-talk can be an important and necessary first step to overcoming urgency.

Either your medical doctor or pelvic floor physiotherapist should evaluate all forms of pelvic floor dysfunction, plus, ruling out other causes of urgency should be explored.

I am happy to report that I no longer have to penguin walk to the washroom and I am in full control of my bladder and urgency. The take-home message is that you are not alone! If you have ANY concerns related to your bowel, bladder or sexual function, I encourage you to speak to a healthcare professional or pelvic floor physiotherapist and learn how to take back control of your pelvic floor.

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