Top 3 Things I Learned By Seeing a Pelvic Physical Therapist
The focus here at SGS is to provide you with resources and products to help you live a life of well-being. Read: a state of feeling comfortable and healthy. I was reminded this week that additional information, especially as it relates to your body, is a powerful tool that can aide us in reaching a better sense of well-being, too. In fact, it’s an essential tool that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
I recently started seeing a pelvic physical therapist (PT) at a Women’s Health Care Clinic here in Des Moines, and have been so amazed by the experience that I even felt compelled to write this post.
Me. The person who never talks about “down there.” If I’m writing this and sharing it with you, that’s proof that what I came away with impressed me.
While you work to maintain or return to health, recognize your resources in the medical sphere and be certain you get all the information you can before making decisions about procedures or medications. This sometimes includes meeting with other medical professionals like dieticians, pain management specialists, mental health professionals or physical therapists.
Here are the 3 most eye-opening things I’ve learned by meeting with a pelvic PT:
- Anatomy, in this case as it relates to a women’s pelvic region, is a marvel—and, unfortunately for many (including me), kind of a mystery. By the way, I say this after having taken an anatomy and physiology course in college AND having had two kids!
The first thing the pelvic PT did was walk me through all the muscles and organs held within the pelvic bowl, if you will, of my body. She referred to a model and explained all the working parts and their relationship to each other in the pelvis, and how all the organs and muscles are impacted by time and childbirth.
The questions and answers were amazingly candid and refreshingly educational. I always thought I had a fairly good grasp of my body from a laywomen’s perspective, but the interrelationship of all the parts and what is currently going on in my situation was insightful.
True confessions here that I largely ignored early alerts in life as to the value of doing kegel exercises. It’s possible that if I’d been walked through the purpose and point of doing them with clear anatomical direction, I might have done a better job early on. All muscles need exercise, but I never really thought or understood that the pelvic floor is a muscle.
- Women wait far too long to address pelvic health because of not knowing what is available or how their bodies work. One of the stats my therapist mentioned was that women wait an average of 7 YEARS to seek out medical help when they are having incontinence issues, for example, while men wait only 3 months. The primary reason for the difference is that women are generally led to believe that their issues are “just to be expected” and cannot be improved or addressed.
Again, this might point to my personal ignorance, but our medical professionals, science education in school, and even our teaching at home all have something to do with the general lack of information women have about their bodies.
I hold myself up here as an example. I accepted that the only direction my body would go would be downward and that I had no power to change that fact. With more information, I now realize that of course the body changes, but there are steps I can take to improve and hold off, in my case surgery. Or, if I decide surgery for a prolapsed bladder is called for, the exercises and strengthening will still be of benefit.
- Make ongoing learning about your body the first step in improving your health. Even if you think you know how and what is going on with your body, there is always new information that will surprise you. Learning more about your physiology can impact the choices you make going forward so that your decisions can be informed ones. Plus, understanding the science of your body might help shape your behaviors into the future.
So, if you, like me, suffer from feeling less than inspired to do the exercises and make the healthy choices in what you eat and do. Focus on learning about your body and then visualize those muscles and other functions at work and see if it helps you along.
It can be easy to take your body for granted, especially if things feel as if they are in working order. But bodies change with time. Make a part of your self-care learning more about how your body works, because knowing more will empower you now and into the future.
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