Pelvic floor issues are very common, especially before, during and after pregnancy. The good news is they can be easily treated by a specialized pelvic floor therapist. The pelvic floor helps provide stability to the core during movements, maintains bladder and bowel control, impacts sexual function, and serves as the “home” for the pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum, and vagina.
P.S. Having a c-section doesn’t get you off the hook! A c-section doesn’t spare your pelvic floor 😉 It has its own unique challenges and issues as well.
The pelvic floor takes on a ton of musculoskeletal changes during pregnancy and delivery. For starters, your pelvic floor stretches 2-3 times its length during a vaginal delivery and it has to stabilize your growing body and core as the baby gets bigger and bigger. If you have a c-section, you still carry a baby, have the same amount of load on the pelvic floor PLUS an additional major abdominal surgery. A c-section disrupts the fascial layers connected to the pelvic floor and results in the formation of scar tissue. Everything is connected in the abdomen to the pelvic floor and vice versa. The pelvic floor muscles, when weakened, damaged, torn or disrupted by scar tissue often evoke pelvic pain and limit our flexibility and coordination. Similarly, a damaged or weakened pelvic floor can lead to pain with intercourse. This can be especially true during orgasm when the pelvic floor muscles contract. Pelvic floor therapy can help with any pain that you are experiencing.
Damage to the pelvic floor from childbirth may allow some of the structures in the pelvis to drop, sag or protrude into the vaginal canal and/or occasionally beyond the vaginal opening. Prolapse is very,very, very common. Let me repeat that in a different way: Prolapse is like gray hair, wrinkles, degenerative disk disease and arthritis. Welcome to the “Over 20 Years Old” Club :). Prolapse is especially common after childbirth. If you have symptoms of prolapse like heaviness or pressure or dragging sensations, like a “dry tampon feeling,” pelvic floor rehab is where you belong. Luckily, we can help you become symptom free during your day-to-day life and activities with prolapse. This includes activities such as prolonged standing as well as heavy lifting and exercise, so that you can get back to all the things you love and enjoy, even at higher levels like running and sports. Pelvic floor therapy is an excellent option for the management of prolapse.
During pregnancy your belly grows to accommodate your baby’s growth and it stretches the linea alba (fibers between your rectus abdominis aka 6-pack muscles). Diastasis is a normal part of pregnancy and 100% of birthing people will have a diastasis by the end of their pregnancy (if they make it all the way to full-term). Now, if the diastasis recti continues to linger postpartum it can contribute to low back pain, hernias, pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. Being able to work on your diastasis recti with a specialized pelvic floor therapist during and after pregnancy can ensure you learn the proper pressure management techniques and avoid the unintended negative consequences. Diastasis is also a system-problem, meaning there are things outside of the “diastasis” separation that contribute to it, including low back tightness, obliques (side abs) and serratus anterior (rib cage).
Low Back Pain
Low back pain is extremely common both during and after pregnancy. Your body goes through so many changes! These changes put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause both acute and chronic low back pain. The good news is that it can be easily and quickly fixed with pelvic floor rehab. In fact, did you know that 97% of people who have back pain also have pelvic floor dysfunction? Crazy! This is why it is so important to make sure you seek out a qualified and specialized pelvic floor therapist to address the root cause of your low back pain.
A common pelvic floor dysfunction is urinary stress incontinence. This is the leakage of urine that occurs when the bladder is “stressed” by a sudden increase in pressure. It occurs with common activities like sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, jumping or running. It’s the most common type of incontinence overall, especially during and after pregnancy. Incontinence affects nearly 8 million women in the U.S, and occurs when the pelvic muscles and fascia supporting the bladder and urethra have been damaged or weakened, and/or there is a discrepancy in pressure management during activities. There are many potential reasons as to why you leak, and seeing a specialized pelvic floor therapist can help you identify your unique reasons and address the dysfunction for long lasting results. To learn more about our proprietary three-tiered hack to stop leaking without kegels sign up here for our free webinar: https://rebornphw.com/webinar-opt-in-1
Pelvic floor dysfunction is very common, and can severely impact your quality of life. If you think you may have pelvic floor dysfunction, please make an appointment with a specialized pelvic floor therapist like the therapists at Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness. We offer free 15 minute phone consultations to discuss your specific concerns.
Do you have pelvic floor dysfunction? Let our expert pelvic health physical therapist start your journey off on the right foot! We are here to help.