There can be many reasons why someone has abdominal pain. Internal organs, such as your small intestine, colon, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, uterus or ovaries, could be causing your symptoms. Or, the abdominal pain could be from a musculoskeletal condition, such as a nerve impingement from the spine, visceral fascial adhesions, strained muscles, or a dysfunctional pelvic floor. Seeing a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy can help determine if your pain is musculoskeletal in nature or if you need to be referred to a different specialist like a gastroenterologist.
You just pulled into your driveway and all of a sudden you have to pee, right now! You make a beeline into the house and to the nearest bathroom. Typically you make it, but sometimes you leak a bit on the way. Does this scenario sound all too familiar?
Having uncontrollable urges to urinate (and other pelvic floor problems) are more common than you might think. We get in the habit of doing this "mad dash" routine with not only ourselves, but with our children as well. But should we be doing this at all?
NOTE: This article contains sexual content intended for a mature audience.
Let’s clear the air and say that first and foremost, men have pelvic floors. There, I said it. Yes, and aside from two distinct muscles, they function similar to a female’s pelvic floor. The muscles of the pelvic floor serve important roles in urinary and bowel control, sexual function, and act as a supportive system for the body.
So, what happens when your pelvic floor muscles act up? A number of symptoms can occur, but for this blog series we’re going to talk specifically about pain during and after sex.
Exercising with pelvic floor dysfunction can be scary, whether you are a mom who just had a baby, a dad who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, or a CrossFitter who began leaking urine during certain lifting exercises. Regardless, you want to lead a healthy, active and strong lifestyle, but instead you are fearful of making things worse. I’ve been there and I’ve treated many clients who have been there too. So let’s talk about how to approach an exercise feeling knowledgeable and empowered rather than unsure and uneasy.
As much as we would like to avoid the topic, poop happens. Or in many uncomfortable cases, it doesn’t. According to the statistics, approximately 20% of adults between 40-75 have constipation. And those numbers are just the base level, run-of-the-mill, stopped-up versions. The actual numbers increase significantly with additional factors:
- Older > Younger
- Female > Male
- Psychological factors (stress, anxiety)
So, are you constipated? Many consider themselves not to be constipated if anything at all is coming out. However, the actual Rome IV definition (most recent consensus of the medical community - May 2016) may surprise you.
You just had a baby, or maybe your child is grown — and now you have a desire to take up or get back into running. First off, congratulations. Taking any step towards leading an active lifestyle is a wonderful thing. Running can have a positive effect on your mental, physical and emotional well being!
As both an orthopedic physical therapist and pelvic health specialist, I often get questions from clients about how and when they can get back to running after having a baby. However my answer isn't always cut and dry. There are many factors to consider when assessing readiness for return to running. For instance, whether you ran before your pregnancy or during your pregnancy, and whether you had any pregnancy problems or delivery complications should all weigh into this decision.
Oftentimes, moms either get back into running too fast, or worry they're not able to run postpartum and never even give it a try. Running postpartum can be a realistic goal, as it is totally attainable for many new and seasoned moms.
Whether you’ve just had your first child or you’ve had many, let’s face it, it can be pretty unnerving to suddenly feel a bulge or heaviness in your vagina. I often hear, “It feels like a tampon is coming out all the time”.
Fear not, you may be experiencing something called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). This happens when the muscles, ligaments and tissues of the pelvic floor become too weak and elongated to properly support your pelvic organs. Eventually these organs can press or descend into the vaginal canal.
Are your kids still having accidents at night? Are they peeing their pants at school? Do they feel embarrassed? Are they missing out on social activities? Urinary incontinence could be normal for their age but there does come a time when children should be dry during both the day and night. A physical therapist who specializes in pediatric pelvic health can determine why they're still having accidents and how to help.
Pediatric pelvic health is an area of specialty within the field of physical therapy. It is not a significant part of a physical therapist’s education. Rather, it is a specialization requiring much further study, training and practice following graduation from PT school. A pediatric pelvic health specialist holds both a degree in physical therapy as well as advanced credentials in the assessment and treatment of children with diagnoses that involve the pelvic floor musculature. Having this additional knowledge gives the physical therapist an even greater understanding of how to help your child from head to toe.
As a pelvic health physical therapist, I often see people after they've visited countless other healthcare providers who have overlooked the muscular system. As they come in, I hear them say things like:
- “I have no idea why I’m here.”
- “I’m only here because my doctor told me to.”
- “So what exactly is pelvic health PT?”
- “Are we just going to do some Kegels?”
Pelvic health isn't a new type of physical therapy, however it is finally gaining some traction in the health and wellness industry. Physicians are now realizing that it’s not just for pregnant and postpartum moms. Pelvic health is for people of all genders, ages, and activity levels. Everyone has a pelvis, and therefore we all could benefit from better pelvic health. So let's discuss what pelvic health physical therapy actually is and how it can help you.
You are a tired new mom, finally out for a run. This is your time - you get a small break - a little time alone. It’s finally fall and beautiful out. You tie your shoes and start down the block. All is right with the world, UNTIL - hard stop. Wait….Was that PEE??