Women's Pelvic Health
DID YOU KNOW?
- 1 in 3 women suffer from urinary leakage
- 50% of women suffer from pelvic floor disfunction
- 30-50% of women have a minor pelvic organ prolapse, after vaginal delivery
Although these conditions are common, they are NOT normal at any stage in one’s life.
- Kegel exercises are performed incorrectly in over 30% of women
- Women in France are given 6 Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy sessions following childbirth.
Incontinence happens when the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) are no longer strong enough to support the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body) and bladder. The PFMs contract during coughing, sneezing and exercise to prevent leakage. However, after pregnancy and vaginal birth, or an extended period of obesity, chronic coughing, chronic constipation and heavy lifting the pelvic floor muscles become weaker and render them insufficient to maintain continence.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy should be your 1st line of defense before diapers, drugs or surgery.
If you have a sensation of heaviness, pressure or bulging in the vagina, or urinary symptoms such as a slowed stream, a sense of incomplete emptying, frequency and urgency with urination or bowel symptoms whereby you have difficulty evacuating stools and you sometimes add pressure on the vagina to help fully empty the rectum, then you may be experiencing a POP.
After vaginal delivery or once a woman reaches her post-menopausal years, the muscles, ligaments and fascia that hold the pelvic organs in their optimal positions become weakened. This can result in the descent of the pelvic organs and produce the various symptoms mentioned above.
POP affects approximately 1 in 3 women who have had more than one child. However, surgery is only ever necessary for 1 in 9 women and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help the others. Reducing the amount of pressure acting on the pelvic floor muscles is a strategy that can certainly help reduce the intensity of your symptoms. Some examples include, weight loss, smoking cessation as this can result in chronic coughing, increase fiber/water/exercise to manage chronic constipation, learn appropriate heavy lifting techniques and avoid straining to evacuate stools or empty your bladder.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in the kidneys, bladder or urethra. It is often caused by the bacteria E.Coli as this bacteria is often present in the rectum. Due to the closeness of the vagina to the anus, these bacteria can easily entre the urinary system and cause symptoms of burning, frequency and urgency with urination. UTI’s are more common in sexually active women, during pregnancy, after surgery and post-menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during these times can increase a woman’s susceptibility to experiencing a UTI.
On the other hand, a large number of women will have ruled out the presence of an infection and will continue to experience frequency and urgency. This may likely be a result of the state of the pelvic floor muscles, in which case pelvic floor physiotherapy is an excellent option for determining the cause of your urgency and frequency
There are several different bodily systems that can contribute to the experience of pain during intercourse. These include; the muscular, hormonal, immune and nervous systems. Therefore, a detailed history taking will be necessary to reveal the systems contributing to your pain experience. A physical examination can further help reveal the source or cause of your pain. Some of the conditions to consider include the following:
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Obstetric trauma (during delivery)
- Bladder or urethral pain syndromes
- Muscular Spasms
- UroGynecological Surgeries (hysterectomy/C-section)
The miraculous beauty of becoming pregnant and delivering a child is a unique experience for women. However, the beauty of this experience can sometimes be complicated by several factors and result in less than favorable outcomes. Delivering a child naturally is no easy feat and deserves the appropriate coaching and preparation. Learning the various ways that one can minimize their risk for obstetric trauma can enhance the experience. Proper prior planning prevents poor performance!
If you are currently pregnant book an appointment today to better prepare yourself for your big day! Thereafter, be sure to have your pelvic floor muscles reassessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist to prevent the onset of pelvic floor dysfunction.