Have you ever wondered what’s going on “Down There” during pregnancy or after delivery? Have you asked yourself—”Why am I peeing my pants? Why do I have pain with intercourse? Why do I feel like everything is hanging out down there?” You are not alone! These issues are more common than you think. Our pelvic floor and core muscles take a beating throughout pregnancy and delivery which can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction causing a whole host of those types of symptoms. Let’s learn more about that!
The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles that lay deep in our pelvis. They help to hold up our organs, assist in continence of the bladder and bowels, assist in sexual function, provide support to our core system and pressure management, amongst other functions. The pelvic floor muscles function as a team with other muscles such as our deep core muscles, diaphragm, and back and hip muscles. As baby grows during pregnancy, the load on the pelvic floor and core increases, therefore making the pelvic floor and other parts of our body work harder than they usually do, often leading to other compensations. Sometimes the increase in load is too much for our pelvic floor and its function starts to falter–thus leading to urinary leakage, pelvic pressure and heaviness, pelvic/back/hip/tailbone pain, painful intercourse, and diastasis recti. The good news about all of this is that these issues are 100% treatable and can be managed and often resolved with pelvic floor therapy!
Here’s the tricky part-most moms have been told to just do their Kegels and they will be fine. While that advice may have good intentions, it’s only one piece of the puzzle and Kegels are often not appropriate for most pelvic floor dysfunction. Many women are walking around with too much tension in their pelvic floor. Much like a weak muscle, a muscle that has too much tension also does not allow for normal function of these muscles, which can lead to back or hip pain, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, urinary frequency and urgency, and more. So, it’s not always a weak pelvic floor that leads to urinary incontinence. This is where being evaluated by a pelvic floor therapist becomes extremely valuable. Pelvic floor therapists are experts in evaluating and treating not only the pelvic floor, but the whole musculoskeletal system. These therapists can determine what your pelvic floor is doing and then set you up on a plan of action that is appropriate for you and YOUR body!
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, know that there is help and hope for you to regain a sense of normalcy! You can even start pelvic floor therapy during pregnancy to manage any of these issues or even help avoid some of these issues starting in the first place. Don’t suffer through these symptoms. Check out one of your friendly local pelvic floor therapists!
–Dr. Tiffany Dallas-Kish, PT, DPT, CIDN Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
GOAL Physical Therapy and Wellness www.goalpt.org
Instagram: goalpt_wellness 419-455-1625