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.
Are you frustrated with trying to get your pre-baby body back? Are you seeing your belly bulge out when you do abdominal exercises or even when you just sit up? Are you nervous and feel like you can’t start exercising because you don’t want to make the bulge worse, have back pain, urinary leakage or just don’t know where to start? If this at all sounds familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of something called diastasis recti (DR).
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??