In women, the pelvic floor is comprised of the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, rectum and small intestines. The muscles of the pelvic floor connect to the pubic bone in front, to the tailbone in the back and to the ischial tuberosities or sitz bones on either side.
When our pelvic floor muscles are unhealthy they can cause be the cause of many problems. Women need to connect and be aware of with these very important muscles and learn how to keep them healthy and strong (yet still relaxed and not in spasm). No other set of voluntary muscles (muscles that we have direct control over) is as important, and yet is so consistently ignored in medicine and in our exercise regimes.
- COMMON ISSUES:
- PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE (POP)
- PELVIC PAIN
- CANCER REHABILITATION
Do you know where every bathroom is no matter where you go?
Do you always make sure you pee “just in case” ?
Do you need to run to the bathroom every time you exercise or workout? Even if you have just gone?
Have you been told needing to wear a pad is “normal” now because you’ve become a Mom?
Incontinence is ANY involuntary loss of urine.
Whether you are jumping on your kid’s trampoline, running, sneezing, lifting your kids or just unable to make it to the bathroom in time. The amount of urine loss also does not matter: little leak, or full flood…. it is a sign of an underlying issue in the pelvic floor.
The Cochrane Collaboration 2010 concluded that Physiotherapists with specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation should be the first line of defense before surgical consultation, for stress, urge, and mixed incontinence in women.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy has been shown to be 80% effective in improving and even curing stress urinary incontinence.
The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting our bladder, uterus, and rectum.
Childbirth, surgery, heavy and repetitive lifting, and hormones can all contribute to weakened tissues in the pelvic floor which can cause one or more of the organs to descend into the vaginal canal which is called Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
Patients describe this condition as feeling like something is, “falling out”. Other patients report a low back heaviness or pressure that increases as the day goes on. Sometimes they can see a bulge coming out from the vaginal canal.
More severe prolapse may require surgery, and surgery is in fact commonly offered as treatment for prolapse. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help avoid surgery by reducing the prolapse, or resolving the symptoms making it less bothersome.
If surgery is still necessary, then physiotherapy before and afterwards helps to optimize and maintain the results; decreasing the chance the surgery needs to be repeated!
Pelvic floor physiotherapy will include strengthening the muscles that support the involved organs and to restore normal mobility and function to the pelvic floor. We also educate on how to prevent future damage and treat whatever symptoms the prolapse is causing.
- 50% of women have some degree of POP after giving birth (Hagen & Stark 2011)
- 50% of women who have surgery for POP will experience a recurrence (Whiteside et al 2004) 30% of those who have surgery will have 2nd surgery within 2 years (Salvatore et al 2010)
- Pelvic floor muscle physiotherapy is effective at reducing POP symptoms and should be the first line of treatment for women with urinary incontinence and POP (Bo &Hilde 2013, Dumoulin & Hay-Smith 2010)
SYMPTOMS OF POP:
- pelvic, vaginal or rectal pressure
- tampon slipping out
- feeling a bulge at the opening of the vagina
- urinary incontinence (stress or urgency)
- difficulty emptying bladder or urine retention
- fecal incontinence
- difficulty emptying bowel and / or constipation
- pelvic girdle pain, abdominal pain, back pain
- painful intercourse
- pressure or pain that increases with long periods of standing
Pelvic health physiotherapy is a meaningful compliment to your pre-natal care.
Pregnancy is the best time to gain postural awareness, learn the correct way of performing a pelvic floor contraction or “Kegel,” prevent and treat incontinence, prolapse, and pain; and learn ways to reduce injury to your pelvic floor during labour and delivery.
When symptoms like incontinence, pelvic pain, low back pain or pelvic organ prolapse appear during pregnancy or after giving birth, most women think and are sometimes even told it is “normal” and part of being a new mom.
These symptoms are signs of pelvic floor dysfunction, and not something you “just need to live with.”
Much can be done to help!
DID YOU KNOW….
92% of women who leak urine at 12 weeks postpartum will still be leaking 5 years later? (Viktrup & Lose 2000)
There are birthing positions that can slow down or speed up labour?
50% of all women who deliver a child will develop pelvic organ prolapse?(Hagen and Stark 2011)
There are steps you can take to decrease the possibility of trauma / tears to the pelvic floor during delivery?
Consult a pelvic health physiotherapist DURING pregnancy if you have:
- Pain in your pubic bone, groin, back, pelvis, buttocks, or legs
- Difficulties doing everyday tasks such as rolling over, walking, or getting in/out of a vehicle
- Leaking urine, gas, or stool when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or walk, etc.
- Bulging or tenting of your abdomen when you lift your head off a pillow (diastasis recti)
- Pain with intercourse
- Vaginal varicose veins
- Questions about preparing your body for labour, delivery, and postpartum
POSTPARTUM IS FOREVER, NO MATTER IF YOUR CHILD IS 3 WEEKS OLD, OR 30 YEARS OLD!
During pregnancy our bodies go through huge changes, and for some its when problems with muscles, posture, and leaking may arise. The impact of pregnancy on the pelvic floor is present whether you’ve had a C-section or vaginal delivery.
When symptoms like incontinence, pelvic pain, low back pain or pelvic organ prolapse appear during pregnancy or after giving birth, most women think and are sometimes even told it is “normal” and part of being a Mom.
Much can be done to help!
See a pelvic health physiotherapist AFTER delivery if you have:
- Scarring from c-section, tearing, or episiotomy
- Leaking urine, gas, or stool when you cough, sneeze, exercise, etc. or not making it to the bathroom in time
- Problems emptying your bladder or bowel completely or frequently
- Pain with intercourse
- Pressure, heaviness, or bulging in your vagina or rectum
- Ongoing pain in your vagina, rectum, pelvis, pubic bone, abdomen, or low back
- Bulging or tenting of your abdomen during any exercise (diastasis recti)
- Questions about returning to safe and effective postpartum exercise (some exercises can make your symptoms worse!!)
A variety of conditions and diagnosis can be identified under the umbrella “Pelvic Pain”
- Vaginismus / Vulvodynia (pain in the vulva or vagina)
- Coccydynia (painful tailbone)
- Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
- Intersistial cystitis (painful bladder)
- Endometriosis associated pain
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- “Sciatica” pain
- Pubic symphysis dysfunction
- Sacroiliac joint pain.
- Pain from c-section scars, episitomies, or tears during child birth
Regardless of the type of pain, know that it may be something we can help with. Pelvic pains can be complex and overwhelming. Everyone is different but Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can sometimes be a tool that helps you regain your life and provide relief.
Cancer treatments take a toll on a woman’s body. Many are then left with devastating long term side effects of their treatments and surgeries. The eradication of cancer is not the final step in a woman’s recovery.
Our services include:
- Manual physiotherapy
- Pelvic physiotherapy assessment and treatment
- Individualized exercise programming
- Fatigue and stress management
- Pelvic Floor rehabilitation
The PINC Cancer Rehabilitation Program aims to help you:
- Optimise physical and functional recovery
- Ease pain and muscular tension
- Regain strength and mobility
- Regain continence and restore pelvic function
- Increase energy levels and improve breathing
- Strengthen core muscles and improve posture
- Improve physical functioning and maintain independence
- Reclaim body confidence and control
- Reduce treatment related side effects and
- Shift focus from illness to wellness
It is suitable after any type of cancer surgery or treatment and accommodates all ages, fitness levels and mobility.
Visit pincandsteel.com for more details about the PINC Cancer Rehabilitation Program.