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What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is a loosening or tightening and shortening of the pelvic floor muscles due to pregnancy, childbirth, caesarean (surgery), loss of muscle mass, decrease in hormones, hysterectomy and/or injury.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction include pelvic pain (hip pain), dyspareunia (painful intercourse), bladder infection-like symptoms (frequent urination, pain when urinating) and/or urinary leakage.
This is a subject I am personally familiar with. It has been a difficult journey but, it will have been worth the pain and frustration if I can help other women find some relief. This condition can affect men as well but it is not nearly as common in men as in women.
The symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction mimic a condition called Interstitial Cystitis (IC). If you have additional symptoms and/or the symptoms you have are severe, you should discuss this with your doctor. There is no ‘cure’ for IC, but take heart because there are lifestyle changes (as discussed in article above) you can make to ease the symptoms or even cause the symptoms to disappear at times.
Well, I won’t get into the details too much. However, I will say that I believe my pain began after my caesarean. As I mentioned on my about page, I began having a stinging pain in my abdomen immediately following my surgery. I returned to the hospital 2-3 times trying to discover why I was having abdominal pain. No one seemed to know.
Long story short, the pain continued (on occasion) and over the next few years, I developed additional painful/uncomfortable symptoms. I continued to struggle to discover what was ‘wrong’ with me. Finally, I was referred to a Naturopath who then referred me to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. I was sceptical, but anything was worth a try at this point. This was the best decision I ever made. I had 4-5 sessions and I haven’t had to go back. My symptoms have disappeared and I feel much better.
Healing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
There are many things you can do to ease your painful symptoms naturally. I am passionate about helping others to discover the problem and fix it (naturally of course). The one thing I really dislike about conventional medicine is their tendency to put a bandage on problems; they treat symptoms instead of finding the cause of the problems.* I believe it is best to discover the root cause of the problem, to fix it and to eliminate your pain and symptoms once and for all. If you feel the same and you have the above symptoms, the most important thing you can do is to go get yourself a referral to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. You won’t regret it. Your GP can refer you as well.
What can I expect during my appointment(s)?
Be forewarned, it won’t be a typical physiotherapy appointment. It can be very uncomfortable. You’ll need to try and relax while the Physiotherapist massages your tight muscles, wherever they may be (internally and/or externally). I want you to be prepared for what will come. It will be worth every second though, I promise. You will feel incredible relief (physically, mentally and emotionally) when it is over and you will continue to feel relief in coming appointments.
Last but not least, you will be required to complete a set of exercises at home that will further encourage your muscles to heal. If your muscles are weak, you will be asked to do kegel exercises (contracting or tightening the pelvic floor muscles and then releasing or relaxing them) to strengthen your muscles. Alternatively, your muscles may tight; in this case, you will want to avoid doing kegels and instead complete stretches and relaxation exercises to loosen your muscles.
If you think you may have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, I sincerely hope you take my advice and get the help you deserve.
*My Doctor (GP) is fantastic. She surmised that I may have IC and when I told her my Naturopath referred me to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, she agreed and thought it was a great idea.
Please share if you know someone who might find this helpful.
Do you think you might have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction or Interstitial Cystitis? Have you had any success with other alternative therapies? Share your comments below.
Be happy, stay healthy. 🙂