By: Lisanne Meiners McCuller, PT, DPT, Pelvic Health Specialist at Woman’s Center for Wellness
Pelvic problems such as incontinence issues and sexual functions can be life-altering for women and men. As a pelvic therapist it’s my goal to give individuals the freedom to continue a normal lifestyle. This all begins with a strengthening of pelvic floor muscles and core musculature.
A weakened or damaged pelvic floor can result in the following symptoms:
- Urinary: Urinary leakage, incontinence, urgency, increased frequency or difficulty emptying bladder
- Prolapse of the pelvic organs
- Bowel: Constipation, difficulty evacuating stool or pain associated with movements, and fecal incontinence
- Women’s Health: Pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, usual pain during pregnancy, pain following childbirth (vaginal or cesarean) and diastasis recti abdominus (abdominal muscle separation due to pregnancy)
- Men’s Health: Difficulty with urinary and sexual function following prostatectomy and sexual dysfunction
The Benefits of Pelvic Therapy
Pelvic therapy aims to optimize pelvic floor muscle function, which includes so much more than just kegel exercises. So it’s important to have an assessment to determine the cause of your problem.
Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems, but so can overactive pelvic floor muscles. If you have overactive pelvic floor muscles, doing kegels could worsen your symptoms. Or if you’re performing a kegel exercise incorrectly, you could be worsening your problem(s) as well.
A pelvic therapist will talk with you about your concerns and medical history, and educate you on pelvic anatomy and function as it relates to your symptoms. They will teach you how to properly activate your pelvic floor muscles as well as properly relax/lengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Don’t Excuse Pelvic Problems Away
A woman’s pelvic floor is tremendously affected during pregnancy and childbirth. So if you’ve had children, come see us! I always encourage pregnant women to see a pelvic therapist during their 4th trimester to ensure proper recovery and prevention of future problems.
Over the years, friends would comment on issues they would have as young mothers during pregnancy and following childbirth (urinary leakage, prolapse, pain with intercourse). They would say things like, “Oh it’s just normal. I’ve had babies. That’s just how it is.”
My mother’s friends would tell me about issues they were experiencing during menopause and postmenopausal years (prolapse, pain with intercourse, urinary and/or fecal leakage), and again I heard them saying, “It’s just how it is… “I’m just getting older.”
Having my own children certainly gave me a better perspective of changes that occur to our bodies and the challenges associated with those changes. I wanted people to know that just because it is common does not mean it is NORMAL. Remember, you don’t have to live with problems that can be easily fixed.
Difficult Conditions to Talk About
Talking about pelvic problems is hard, I understand. Many people have been dealing with their problems for years because they are uncomfortable discussing. Often patients think they’re the only one experiencing these issues. These conditions are more common than most people think.
Not dealing with the problem can affect your marriage, job, social life, daily activities, and feelings of general self worth. It truly is a privilege to be able to work with my patients, listen to their concerns, educate them, and help them to improve their quality of life.
What Makes Woman’s Therapy Different
At Woman’s Therapy, we understand everyone is different and their problems are unique. Many patients may share common symptoms, but no two stories are the same, so all treatment plans are customized. You will play the key role in directing your own treatment, so we spend the time educating you and answering your questions. We’ve spent time investing in our therapeutic environment and technology because we want you to succeed.
For more information or to schedule a private therapy consultation, visit our website or contact our patient navigator at 225-924-8709.