After we give birth, we are often so focused on our babies that we forget about ourselves. But remember that you can’t give good care without having good self care. Far too many women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction after giving birth. In fact, in Australia, a woman can’t even leave the hospital after giving birth without having seen a postpartum pelvic floor specialist. In the U.S., however, many women are sent home from the hospital with little or no guidance on ways to “restore the core” after giving birth.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one in four women will have at least one occurrence of pelvic floor dysfunction in their lifetime. By the time a woman is 80, she has a one in five chance of undergoing surgery to correct pelvic floor dysfunction.
Surgery is not your only option to correct pelvic health issues.
Often, pelvic floor dysfunction can be resolved with a combination of physical therapy, exercise, and learning new habits to restore the strength, coordination, and function of the pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Issues: Common, But Not “Normal”
Pregnancy causes major changes to the body including increased weight, postural changes, increased pelvic floor pressure and hormone fluctuations.
As such a central part of your body, the pelvic floor is subject to a considerable amount of stress and pressure. Weakness or injury can start a cascading progression of symptoms including pain, prolapse, and incontinence.
All of those symptoms are common, but not normal, and they don’t have to be normal to you.
Pelvic health physical therapy addresses the root cause of these symptoms by working to restore the function and structure of the pelvis and core muscles. We’ll work to retrain your body into habits that promote ongoing pelvic health.
Our Pelvic Health Physical Therapists
Jamie Ligon, PT, DPT, PCES can relate to many of the patients she treats. She required physical therapy after suffering a neck injury while she was a pole vaulter at the University of Tennessee. Her professional interests include prenatal and postpartum recovery, functional fitness, pediatrics. Jamie received her doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and was named the school’s “Outstanding Doctoral Student” in 2012.
Laura Dorrity, PT, RTY200 first found her love for physical therapy at Texas A&M University as president of Project Sunshine, an organization that provides opportunities for children with disabilities. She has taken extensive continuing education through Herman and Wallace for prenatal/postpartum care as well as on topics such as pelvic pain, bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Don’t Shrug Off Symptoms
Don’t ignore symptoms because they seem infrequent, unimportant or embarrassing. Our pelvic health PT team can help you get back to full functionality and health. Here a just a few of the common symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction.
One of the most common symptoms experienced by women who have just given birth is prolapse. Pelvic prolapse occurs when core muscles weaken to the point that they no longer adequately support the organs in the pelvis. These organs then put pressure on everything below them, causing issues like constipation, incontinence, flatulence, pain with intercourse, and pelvic pain and pressure.
Have you ever not gone on a run or to an exercise class because you’re afraid about peeing through your pants? Or not gone on a trip because you didn’t want to stop 50 times to use the bathroom?
Urinary or fecal urgency or incontinence is a very common symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. The embarrassment and anxiety that incontinence brings often prevents people from seeking care, but with the help of a pelvic floor physical therapist it is very treatable!
Many women may think, “I leak a little when I laugh, cough, or sneeze, but I’m not a runner or an exerciser so that’s not going to bother me.” At some point, however, they will probably be running after a toddler or want to get on a trampoline with their kids and fears about incontinence could stand in the way. It is important that incontinence caused by pelvic floor dysfunction doesn’t define what you can and cannot do in the future.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause pain all over the body. The core muscles are central to your musculoskeletal system, and weakness there can impact many other areas as well.
The most common types of pain associated with pelvic floor dysfunction are abdominal, tailbone, genital and rectal pain, as well as pain with intercourse. Over time, however, compensation for a weak core can alter movement patterns and cause pains as far away as the neck and shoulders.
It’s Never Too Late for Pelvic Floor PT
Maybe it has been months, years, or even decades since you had a baby. Don’t think that it’s too late to get help! Many women’s bodies never heal fully or properly after childbirth, and our team can help “restore the core” even many years later. The odds of developing a pelvic floor dysfunction increase with age, so investing in your health now can pay off in better functionality as you get older.
Our Unique Approach to Pelvic Floor PT
Apple Healthcare’s team of physical therapists, chiropractors and medical providers work together to help restore your pelvic floor to optimal function. A treatment plan for pelvic floor dysfunction may include:
- Physical therapy
- Bladder training
- Diet and fluid intake consultation
- Gut health assessment
- Hormone panels
Come see us for a consultation, and get on the road to living your most healthy, active life!
Pelvic floor PT is covered by most insurance plans. Our business office can help you determine your plan’s benefits.
Our pelvic floor muscles are a core part of supporting many of our vital organs. A weak pelvic floor can often lead to pain, prolapse and incontinence. The good news is that you can rebuild your pelvic floor with targeted physical therapy!
Our staff of licensed physical therapists.
While many people associate pelvic floor issues with women and childbirth, men can also develop issues with their pelvic floor and can benefit from similar PT approaches.
In general, physical therapy is covered by insurance. Our business office can help determine the exact benefits of your plan.