Welcome to the Bump Physio & Co blog, Watermelon Seeds! We are an all-women group of physiotherapists, exercise therapists, kinesiologists and client experience team looking to provide the highest quality care to clients seeking support with their pelvic health. This is the first of many posts to come, where we will be sprouting knowledge across all areas of pelvic health!
So, Sit back, Relax and Grab yourself a cozy blanket as we dive into our first topic …
10 Top Reasons to See a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
1. Support Prenatal and Postpartum Care
If you’re pregnant or postpartum, chances are you’ve heard about kegels; “Make sure to do your kegels!”, “Kegels will help you not pee your pants”, “When in doubt, kegel it out!.”
But did you know that for some people, kegels might be the WRONG thing you should do even if you are pregnant or in your postpartum journey?
Before starting any pelvic floor exercise routine, it is important to get your pelvic floor assessed by a qualified professional to optimize the functioning of your pelvic floor muscles and to ensure that your care is tailored to YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL NEEDS! This helps ensure your prenatal and/or postpartum journey are as smooth as possible and that any concerns are individually treated with your specific goals in mind.
2. Pain with Penetration
Pain with penetration is one of the most common things we see in the clinic. This can be from tampon insertion, finger penetration, or intercourse just as a few examples. Yet so many people believe this is 'normal' and something they 'just have to live with'. Just know, THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!
Pelvic penetration should not be painful, no matter what. By seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist we will be able to take a thorough subjective history to understand your pelvic health journey thus far and perform a detailed assessment to understand what may be causing your pain and discomfort, and treat based on the underlying cause of your symptoms.
3. Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
There are three main organs sitting in your pelvis; your rectum, uterus, and bladder. All three of these organs sit directly on top of the pelvic floor muscles. Part of your pelvic floor function is to support those organs inside the pelvic cavity and make sure they do not descend.
During pregnancy, after delivery, or as we age, the function of those muscles can change and can cause these organs to sit lower in the pelvis. This can present as pelvic pressure/heaviness, the feeling like “something is going to fall out”, or a bulge at your vaginal opening or anus. Research shows that pelvic floor muscle training is the first line treatment method to address POP and improve the integrity of your muscles and symptoms (Hagen & Stark, 2011).
Did you know that after menopause, women’s estrogen levels drop significantly? (Santoro et al, 2012) AND, Did you know that lower estrogen levels have a significant effect on your pelvic floor health? (Bodner-Adler et al, 2020).
This can cause a wide range of symptoms in and around your pelvis including; vaginal dryness, incontinence, and pelvic pressure all of which can be treated by a qualified pelvic floor physical therapist.
5. Pelvic Pain
Oh man, this one is a doozy. Pelvic pain can present in many different ways;
Soreness in your groin?
That’s pelvic pain.
Achy and deep pain near your sacrum?
Yep, pelvic pain.
Sharp, stabbing pain at the bone just under the belly button?
You guessed it, pelvic pain!
All of these areas encompass different parts of your pelvis and should not go untreated. If you are experiencing pain anywhere in your pelvis, or have been diagnosed with a pelvic pain condition, pelvic floor physical therapy can help!
6. C-section (Cesarean) Surgery Prep & Recovery
Let’s just start by saying that a cesarean procedure is a major surgery! After a knee replacement, it is common practice for patients to be automatically referred to physiotherapy before and after surgery to help strengthen to prepare for surgery and for post-op recovery.
So why does this not apply to C-sections? We believe that everyone, no matter if you are preparing for a planned cesarean or recovering from one postpartum, are entitled to optimal physiotherapy care and support.
7. Bladder health concerns
(e.g., strong urge, incomplete emptying & increased frequency)
Are you that person in your friend circle that has to pee ALL. THE. TIME? Have you told yourself that you just have a really small bladder? When you leave the house, do you find yourself going to the bathroom ‘just in case’, or arriving at an unfamiliar place and always worrying where the closest bathroom is?
If these questions sound familiar to you, chances are that your bladder has been trained to adopt some less optimal habits. However, don’t worry, your bladder, just like any other muscle, can be trained!
How often do we hear people say, “I don’t run anymore because I pee my pants”, or “I can’t jump on the trampoline unless I have a pad on”, or “I need to just tighten everything ‘down there’ when I sneeze or else I leak”.
Luckily, word is getting out that all kinds of urinary leakage can be treated! Incontinence can be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction (Faubion, Shuster & Bharucha, 2021).
A pelvic floor physio can work with you to help you understand why you leak. Don’t be surprised if your treatment is much more than just understanding your pelvic floor muscle function, postural alignment, and movement strategies are also key to getting your pelvic floor (and bladder) back under control!
9. Constipation & Rectal Pain
Your pelvic floor muscles create sphincters in your pelvis where your urine and stool evacuate. If you are someone who has to strain or push to empty your bowels, or even has pain with bowel movements, tightness in your pelvic floor muscles around your rectum could possibly be contributing to this.
Along with the support of your primary care physician and/or a naturopath, a pelvic floor physiotherapist is a great tool in helping to address possible causes of constipation and rectal pain, and ensure things are smooth sailing!
10. Chronic Pain Conditions
(e.g., endometriosis, PCOS, IBS, ICy)
Each year, more and more individuals are being diagnosed with pain conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, IBS, interstitial cystitis, etc. If left untreated, these conditions can significantly impact the health of your pelvic structures (Grimes & Stratton, 2021), including your pelvic floor.
These changes can also lead to symptom exacerbation and can make it even more challenging to manage your condition . If you are curious to know how pelvic floor physical therapy can be a part of your health care team, please reach out and ask us how!
Have you experienced pelvic floor dysfunction? If so, let's start the conversation in the comments below!
🍉 Savanna Rowe, MPT
Registered Interim Physiotherapist
At Bump Physio & Co, we are a community of health care providers dedicated to changing the way pelvic health and obstetrical services are delivered. Our two clinics locations are Port Moody and Langley BC, where we treat beyond the Bump and welcome clients from all stages and phases of life! Our team has advanced training in Pelvic Health, Orthopedics, Obstetrics, Clinical Pilates, and Active Rehabilitation.
Please follow us along on our socials @bumpphysio and check out our website www.bumpphysioco.ca for more information about how we can help YOU!
Bodner-Adler, B., Alarab, M., Ruiz-Zapata, A.M., Latthe, P. Effectiveness of hormones in postmenopausal pelvic floor dysfunction. Int Urogynecol J. 31(8): 1577-1582.
Faubion, S., Shuster, L., Bharucha, L. (2012). Recognition and Management of Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 87(2):187-193.
Fraser Health. (2005) Exercise Guide for Knee Replacement Surgery. Fraser Health <https://patienteduc.fraserhealth.ca/file/exercise-guide-for-knee-replacement-surgery-91712.pdf>.
Grimes W., Stratton M. (2021). Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. StatPearls Publishing <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559246/>.
Hagen, S., Stark, D. (2011) Conservative prevention and management of pelvic organ prolapse in women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 12:CD003882.
Kim, C., Jeon, M., Chung, D., Kim, S., Kim, J., Bai, S. (2007). Risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse. Int J Gynecol Obstet. 98:248–51.
Li, C., Gong, Y. & Wang, B. (2016). The efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training for pelvic organ prolapse: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Urogynecol J. 27, 981–992. .https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-015-2846-y.
Robinson, D., Cardozo, L. (2011). Estrogens and the lower urinary tract. Neurourol Urodyn. 30:754–7.
Santoro, N., Randolph, J.F. (2012). Reproductive hormones and the menopause transition. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 38(3), 455-466.