November 12, 2017
When I first dreamed it up, this blog was intended to be a girls-only kinda thing but on second thought feel free to read along, guys…perhaps you have women in your life who’d really appreciate a little extra info in this department!
But back to you, ladies…let’s just cut to the chase. No matter what your age or stage of life may be, can you answer “yes” to any of the following questions?
· Do you sit a lot (either for work, in the car, or just because)?
· Do you “leak” (from either end, even just a tiny bit) while performing day-to-day activities?
· Do you find yourself using the bathroom more than 5 times per day?
· Or do you have to use the bathroom overnight?
· Or do you sometimes limit your water intake in the evening (so as NOT to use the bathroom overnight)?
And now for you ladies who’ve had children or are at least sexually active, can you answer “yes” to any of the following questions?
· Do you have pain from an old episiotomy incision?
· Did you experience diastasis recti during pregnancy (a split in the abdominal muscles which happens to about 50% of all women regardless of fitness level or age)?
· And here’s the million dollar question: do you experience any pain or discomfort during intercourse?
If you scored one or more “yes’s” to any of the questions above then you most likely have a weak or injured pelvic floor.
And what exactly is the pelvic floor, you ask?
The textbook definition describes the pelvic floor as “the muscular base of the abdomen, attached to the pelvis.” But I prefer to think of it with the following metaphor in mind: the thigh bones sitting in the hip sockets are like a hammock stand but the hammock itself is made up of a whole bunch of soft tissue and muscle. More importantly, however, the pelvic floor “hammock” is also the floor of the core (hey that’s kinda catchy!) and is responsible for holding up/in a whole bunch of REALLY important organs (think bladder, vagina, uterus, rectum, etc.) And by the way a C-section delivery doesn’t guarantee avoidance of pelvic floor injury. And most importantly of all, ALL women are vulnerable to pelvic floor injuries, even those who’ve never been pregnant (sitting too much, for instance, can easily mess up the entire body…especially the pelvic floor!)
Sadly, women are often under the impression that some of the changes which often occur at various stages of life are not only normal but even inevitable. (Sadder yet, sometimes women think this way because their doctor told them so but I digress …that’s a whole other blog!)
All kinds of pelvic floor issues are commonly fueled by popular culture…follow this scenario:
An exhausted new mama turns her overwhelm and brain fog inward in the form of self-criticism (a common female reaction to difficult circumstances…did you know that women are 90% more likely than men to attempt perfecting their bodies when under stress of any kind?)
Then new mama sees a People magazine while waiting in the checkout line at Acme with a photoshopped celebrity on the cover (who typically spends hours a day being serviced by personal cooks, trainers, makeup artists, and hairstylists) talking all about how easy it was to get her pre-baby body back.
The next day new mama jumps into a Barre or CrossFit class or, because she has so little time on her hands, starts jumping rope or running for at least a few minutes a day (all of which seriously stresses out her not-yet-fully-restabilized pelvic floor.)
The bottom line (sorry I couldn’t resist) is that new mama will most likely develop back pain, pelvic heaviness, or urinary leakage long before she gets her body back (all of which could easily plague her for the rest of her life and will ultimately be a HECK of a lot more stressful than taking the slow-and-steady route back to fitness!)
So ‘nuff said on some of the common causes of pelvic floor injuries (because the current cultural phenomenon of media-supported semi- violent female self-criticism is ANOTHER whole other blog!) Instead, let’s get back to what you should do if you answered “yes” to any of my questions.
First, I want you to repeat after me “I DON’T HAVE TO JUST LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT!”
Next, pick up the phone and give me a call because what’s going on with you may have a lot more to do with the way you do (or don’t) exercise than you think…even if your issues are specifically the result of difficult or multiple pregnancies, at the very least allowing me to help you change the way you exercise can help A LOT. (And worst case scenario, if it turns out there’s an aspect of your condition that’s clearly above my pay grade I’ll be the first one to say so and can easily can refer you to a whole slew of the absolute best traditional and complimentary medical practitioners around!)
And consider this: if you strained your ankle, you wouldn’t say to yourself “well, guess I’ll never walk again!”…you’d rest it, rehab it, and slowly build the ankle back up, right? So no matter what your situation is, try not to react by limiting yourself. Instead just pick up the phone and we’ll figure everything out together.
(And although this is primarily a fitness-related blog, it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look at your eating habits and relax a little, right? SO LET’S TALK!)