My Episode 3 guest, Marjorie Walker, is a Physiotherapist & Osteopathic Manual Therapist with advanced training in Pelvic Health. I asked her if she could answer this one question in advance of the episode being released:
Is it EVER too late to invest in your pelvic health?
This was her response:
“Whether you are 25 or 80, or if your kid(s) are still in diapers or off to college, it’s never too late to address your pelvic health if you are experiencing symptoms. I have worked with people of all ages and stages of life to help them with their pelvic health. The oldest people I have helped with their pelvic health are 75 years old, and respond very well to this conservative approach.
There are many clues that guide you towards a pelvic floor assessment even if you do not have any obvious symptoms:
- Coughing, sneezing, jumping, running, getting up from sitting all cause urinary leakage ( beyond the 12 weeks after giving birth).
- Increased frequency and urgency to urinate.
- Pain in the genitals or spasms of the pelvic floor (ie. Protalgia fugax).
- Chronic pain in the hip, groin, or low back that hasn’t responded to conventional treatment
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Problems inserting or keeping in a tampon or menstrual cup.
- “Something just doesn’t feel right down there”.
Who’s at risk?
- Anyone who’s given birth (either vaginally or cesarian).
- Athletes (rode cyclists and runners especially).
- History of pelvic or abdominal surgeries
- Chronic constipation
- Diagnosed with “Over Active Bladder”
- History of recurring urinary tract infections
- People who are overweight ( due to the increased pressure in the pelvis).
- Those who lift heavy objects often.
- History of bad falls onto the tail bone, or fractured coccyx.
What will a Pelvic Health Assessment screen for?
- Pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This is when either the bladder, uterus or rectum makes a descent down towards or through the vaginal opening. POP is graded from 1-4 by your physiotherapist. A grade 1-2 is mild/moderate and responds very well to physiotherapy treatment. Grades 3-4 can benefit from physiotherapy but will also require further interventions ( to be discussed with your doctor).
- Strength and function of your pelvic floor. Is your pelvic floor tight and weak or loose and weak? This is a very important aspect of the assessment. Pelvic floor strengthening (Kegal’s) are not indicated for everyone. For example, if you have a tight pelvic floor you have to learn how to relax it before you can strengthen it.
- What does your pelvic floor do when you breathe? Your pelvic floor and your diaphragm work harmoniously together to balance the pressures between your chest, abdomen and pelvis. This creates a ‘sump-pump’ action for the pelvis and abdomen. This balance of pressure is also very important to help treat or prevent POP.
- Scar tissue? During the delivery process, tearing can occur which sometimes requires stitches. The scar tissue that is left behind can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction and contribute to prolapse. Even if you didn’t tear, the stretching of the pelvic floor muscles can create a version of scar like tissue that needs to be addressed.
- Global assessment of your muscle and joint mobility as well as movement patterns in functional tasks such as walking, squatting, lifting etc.
It can be intimidating to seek professional help for pelvic health, especially when you hear that it involves an internal evaluation. Remember that the internal evaluation component, albeit is the gold standard to guide treatment, does not need to happen in the first visit. There are many aspects of your health to evaluate and address in regards to your symptoms in the beginning appointments. This can give you as much time as you need to feel comfortable with the next steps. At the end of the day, if an internal evaluation is not for you, that is ok as well. There are indirect ways of providing you the help you need.”
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So there you have it, Mamas.
There is no ‘expiry date’ on seeking help (or an education) about your pelvic health! And regardless of whether you are experiencing any of the symptoms Marjorie mentioned, or you’re simply curious to learn more - the time to get started is TODAY! Get yourself a pelvic health assessment, discover your baseline, and take back some power & control of your pelvic ‘bowl’!
Listen to Episode 3 - POSTPARTUM RECOVERY: Padsicles, Pelvic Floors, & What NOT to Forget, for more information and tips from Marjorie…and make sure you subscribe to the ‘Raise Your Hand Motherhood Podcast’ email list for more blogs, freebies, and behind-the-scenes takeaways with my guests from the show!
Until next time!
Rae Lynn Minke