This is a guest post written by occupational therapist, Lindsey Vestal, founder of The Functional Pelvis.
“I pee every time I sneeze… is that normal?”
“Ever since I had a baby, sex is so painful…does everyone experience that?”
“Ever since I gave birth, I feel so much pressure down there… is that ok?”
“My baby is 6 months old; I’ve almost lost all the “baby” weight but I still look pregnant… is that normal?”
“Omg I cannot hold my farts in and yet I have the hardest time pooping… is that normal?”
Do any of these questions sound familiar? Do you have your own questions that have you wondering if you’re normal? If so, you would benefit from working with a pelvic floor therapist. While problems with the pelvic floor are common, especially pre and postpartum, they are not necessarily “normal” and what’s important is that you don’t have to just live with them. There is help.
Pelvic floor therapy is indicated when there is pain or a loss of function involving the vital daily activities of the pelvis. To be blunt, these activities include peeing, pooping, farting and sex. All the things we don’t discuss in public but are so incredibly important to our quality of life.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like structure made up of 14-16 muscles that stretch across the bottom of the pelvis. These muscles do some pretty important jobs including holding in our pee, poop and farts when we don’t want them to come out but also relaxing to let them out when it’s time. They are also big players in helping us to enjoy sex including penetration and orgasms. They also play a really important role in supporting the pelvic organs including the bladder, uterus and rectum as well as supporting the whole body including the spinal column and head. So in essence, these muscles are super important and YET most of us know very little about this part of our musculoskeletal system much less how to rehabilitate it when something isn’t working as it should.
Pelvic floor therapists are trained to help you regain function by assessing what is contributing to your symptoms and creating a plan of care tailored to you with your specific goals in mind. Often we use breath work, strengthening, stretching and muscular release techniques. Some exercises will focus on the pelvic floor muscles and core muscles while others will integrate the whole body. We may also spend some time on helping clients to improve body mechanics in everyday tasks that they do at home or at work. At The Functional Pelvis, we pride ourselves on providing education throughout the session as we strongly believe that knowledge is power — the more you understand about your body, the more healing can occur. Our approach ensures that pelvic health is important not just during the pre and postnatal period, but for your health and well-being throughout your life. We are privileged to guide you along this important path that ensures a wonderful quality of life not only throughout your postpartum period but throughout your lifetime as a woman.
Sonia Reiter and Lindsey Vestal are occupational therapists specializing in pelvic floor therapy for pre and postnatal women. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit http://www.functionalpelvis.com