What? A Vagina Physio you say?
Well, yes, but there’s so much to it than that.
During the birth of my son, I experienced forceps, vacuum, tearing and episiotomy. And at my 6 week check up with my doctor, I was told I was good to go. I could get back to running, bootcamp… whatever I was doing before. And so I did.
I lived with urinary incontinence for 8 years. Until I finally did something about it. Until then, I just considered it to by my new normal. I thought this is just what happens after you have a baby. No one really talked about it… I thought everyone else was in the same boat.
It wasn’t until I started taking courses in postnatal fitness that I realized that it is SO COMMON, but it is NOT NORMAL.
The first thing I did was make an appointment with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and from there my healing began. I went a few times over the course of a few weeks and was given some homework to do to help me with my recovery. EIGHT YEARS after the birth of my son, I healed my pelvic floor dysfunction.
So why should you go see a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist?
Are you experiencing any of the following?
Incontinence – stress or urge – urinary, feral or gas – Do you leak when you sneeze or cough? How about when you run or do jumping jacks? Do you have to go to the bathroom so bad that you don’t quite make it to the toilet?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse – when a pelvic organ drops down into the pelvis. Do you feel bulging or pressure in your pelvic floor?
Diastasis Recti -when the transverse abdominal muscles separate. Does stomach bulge or dome when doing certain exercises?
Pain in the pelvis, back, hip or sacrum
Pain during intercourse
The Pelvic floor is one of the most important group of muscles in our body. It’s an interwoven series of muscle fibres, tissue, and ligaments that are connected to your pelvis and tailbone. It supports your pelvic organs and contributes to core stability.
A pelvic health physiotherapist (or a pelvic health physical therapist) focuses on prevention and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. They perform an external and internal assessment to see where your issue lies. The look at your posture and the tension in your gluts and hips and they also check for diastasis recti. And they also can do a quick internal examination to check the strength, tension and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles.
It may be the years of contracting your pelvic floor muscles that you can’t relax them. Or it may be they are too weak. Or maybe it’s something else…. Either way there are many things you can do to help the situation!
Being pregnant ALONE puts significant pressure on your pelvic floor. No matter what your delivery looked like, your pelvic floor is now changed. Then if you add in some tearing… or forceps… or episiotomy…during labour, there can be some significant damage.
As well, A pelvic floor physiotherapist can also help with C-section scars. If you have pain at the incision site, or even elsewhere in the body the can work on mobilization of that scar.
Typically your GP might send you on your way at your 6 week check up. This is NOT OK! You need to rehab and retrain those muscles. Just as you would with any other surgery of any other body part.
A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can also assist you during pregnancy. They can help with relaxing and releasing of the pelvic floor muscles which may contribute to an easier birth experience. They can get a baseline of where you’re at before your baby is born, so they can assist you with your postnatal recovery. It can also lead to a more comfortable pregnancy experience!
There are so many benefits of seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist. And there are more and more physios specializing in this important area. It’s never too late! Postpartum is forever!
Do yourself a favour and book yourself an appointment!
In the US, you can find one here and in Canada here or ask your general health provider for a referral. This site can also help you find someone for your specific problem and this one will give you more information on the pelvic floor in general.
Thanks to Maria Shuba of Maria Shuba Fitness for today’s guest blog. Maria is a fitness Coach, Pre & Postnatal Specialist who helps women find balance, gain strength, build confidence and get back to doing what they love
You can get in contact with Maria through-