Lisa Flanders is a Registered Physiotherapist with specialized training in pelvic floor physiotherapy. We’ve seen her speak at numerous events and like how real she is. She explains pelvic floor physiotherapy with compassion and humour. When we refer clients to her we know they’re in good hands. She’s here today with reasons you might want to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
The number one question I get asked is
How do I know if I should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?
The short answer is that all pelvic floor dysfunction should be evaluated and if you are not sure, having an evaluation and the education that accompanies can be invaluable.
Below are the top 5 dysfunctions I see in my practice.
1. Urinary leakage with laughing, running, jumping or sneezing.
This is a dysfunction in your pelvic floor. Many women are told this is normal or do your kegels, and continue on through life with urinary incontinence.
This is NOT NORMAL it is COMMON and easily treated by a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Kegel exercises are not a cure-all, they are often done incorrectly, using the wrong muscles or simply squeezing every muscle surrounding your hips and pelvis in hopes to engage something to do with the pelvic floor. Kegels are also very static, meaning that they are performed in sitting or lying down, however if leakage occurs when you are jumping, training the muscles while sitting will not transfer. Pelvic floor muscle activation may be okay in lying down when you are first learning to do them CORRECTLY (with breathing), but in order to be functional, the muscles must be trained in a dynamic fashion.
2. Painful Intercourse
This is very common following childbirth and often related to muscles that are too tight or scar tissue (from a cesarean section or perineal tearing).
In this case a pelvic floor physiotherapist will teach you to down-train your pelvic floor and provide exercises and manual therapy to lengthen the muscles.
Tense muscles are not strong muscles, muscles must be able to contract and relax fully to be functional.
3. Heaviness in the pelvic floor
If you feel heaviness (I usually describe this as the feeling like a tampon isn’t quite in properly) this may be due to a pelvic organ prolapse (the bowel, bladder or reproductive organs caving into the vagina). A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help.
5. Diastasis Recti and abdominal separation following pregnancy
The pelvic floor makes up one quarter of the deep core system and works with the diaphragm (breathing), transversus abdominus (deep abs) and multifidus (deep back muscles). To support the abdominal canister each part of the deep core must work in harmony, a pelvic floor physiotherapist will help to ensure each part is working together.
Pelvic floor dysfunction includes more than what is on this list. If you are experiencing dysfunction and you are not sure if pelvic floor physiotherapy can help, get into contact with a pelvic floor physiotherapist in your area. Taking care of your pelvic health will translate into optimal function, your body will thank you.
If you are experiencing any of the things on this list, get in touch with Lisa. She works out of the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre as well as the Ottawa Integrative Health Center. Her website is lisaflanders.ca. Thank you, Lisa!
Lisa is leading a 4-week series on how to have a pain free pregnancy and prepare your body for birth and beyond. More information and details on the classes (which start Monday, June 27th!) can be found on the Facebook event page here.