Women get told a LOT of things that simply aren’t true when it comes to their health. This is particularly true when it comes to things like pain with sex, pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.
The whole reason that I went into pelvic PT was because I saw how many times women were told that the symptoms they experience are “normal” or worse yet “in their head.” Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you have heard one of these statements at some point in your life. I’m here to tell you that there IS a solution. And it’s often simpler than you think.
Read on as I debunk this myths.
My female athletes hear this all the time – don’t lift weights if you don’t want to make your pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence worse. NO!
Sure, you should learn some different strategies to control your intra-abdominal pressure appropriately, but avoiding heavy lifting is NEVER the answer. After all, if you’re a mom, you’re gonna need to be able to lift some heavy things (toddlers, strollers, and who knows what else!). A pelvic PT can assess how you’re bracing your core and determine if/where you have physical deficits so that you can get back to heavy lifting.
Yes, women are still being told that they can’t do sit-ups, particularly when they’re trying to rectify a diastasis recti (ab separation).
Are sit-ups the most effective abdominal exercise? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that women should avoid sit-ups. Again, sitting up is a functional part of daily life – we all have to get up off of the floor and out of bed, right?!
Here’s the deal when it comes to diastasis recti – every person is different! That’s why it’s so important to see a specialist who can really assess how your abdomen behaves so that you can learn what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to ab work, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.
I don’t care if you had a big baby. I don’t care if you’ve had 10! Leaking urine is (or stool, for that matter) is NOT normal. It’s a sign that something isn’t working appropriately – whether it’s your pelvic floor, your abs, your posture or simply your coordination. Do not settle for pads. And don’t skip exercise because you leak. Talk to a pelvic PT!
Sure, some women may choose to go this route, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, know that surgery is NOT your only option when it comes to treating incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or pain with sex.
Why not try a conservative approach first? Think of it this way – if you tore your rotator cuff, you’d probably get sent to PT before you undergo surgery. Why would pelvic issues be any different?
Even if you do decide to pursue surgical treatment, starting with PT promotes normalization of pelvic floor tone and abdominal strength, so that you have better outcomes after surgery.
Women that experience recurrent pain with sexual activity (whether it be pain with arousal, vaginal penetration or orgasm) are often dismissed by their health care providers. So often, women are told that they “need to relax” or “drink a glass of wine” before being intimate, and that simply is not true.
Musculoskeletal and neuromuscular deficits (e.g. nerve entrapment, scar tissue and muscle spasm) can all contribute to pain with sexual activity. But, these issues can be resolved with pelvic PT.
Ladies, we must advocate for our health. If you’re experiencing any bladder, bowel or sexual symptoms, seek out a consultation with a pelvic health professional and do not accept any of these statements as truths.
And as always, if you have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me!