The Perks of Pelvic-Floor Rehab
Mention sex and you have everyone’s attention. Mention pelvic-floor health and you’ve lost them. Yet you cannot have the one without the other. In addition to low libido, pelvic-floor problems are also indicated in painful sex, womb prolapse and lower-back pain. Instead of suffering in silence, women now have access to a few simple feminine game-changers.
What Does Your Pelvic Floor Do For You?
Much like a sling, the pelvic-floor (PF) muscles line the base of the pelvic bowl, supporting and holding your organs in place. Healthy PF muscles also help to stabilize the hip joints, ensure proper control over your bladder and make good sex possible.
Considering this area works extremely hard – especially in women – it’s surprising that it usually gets attention only during pap smears, birth, sex, or when there is an obvious problem. Yet, over the years, many factors can compromise PF health. Apart from birth and surgery, daily habits such as consistent slouching, wearing high heels and lack of exercise can all add to PF strain.
The PF muscles can suffer from consistent muscle tension or from fatigue, as well as loss of tone, flexibility, and range of motion. With the right help, this story can be turned around. The PF is essentially for our vitality – it’s time it received some long-overdue support.
This is a common service available in Europe, America and many other countries – yet in South Africa this important field of health has only recently started to gain recognition. The South African Women’s Health Physiotherapy Group (WHPG) is passionate about making their information available to all. Click here to find out more about this group.
Many women are struggling after going through childbirth or aging, and several think it is “normal” to leak after these experiences. These issues can however be resolved in a few PF sessions. A study in the Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine has compared the effects of physiotherapy with those of surgery on individuals with pelvic-floor disorder. Physiotherapy’s effects proved to be much more successful than those of surgery.
Should All Women Kegel?
Contrary to popular belief, most pelvic-floor issues don’t stem from weak muscles. Briony Devonals is a pelvic-floor physiotherapist at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. “Some women are actually hypertonic. We do not want those women doing kegel exervise,” she says. “Overactive PF muscles can often cause as many problems as underactive muscles.” Incontinence, sexual problem and even struggling to give birth may be a result of vaginal muscles that are too tight or overactive.
In France, every woman receives pelvic-floor rehabilitation after each birth. This is something the WHPG is working toward in South Africa. The good news is that not all women who have given birth will develop problems, and just because a birth was wonderful doesn’t mean that there won’t be a problem.
Unhappy PF muscles often leads to urinary incontinence, which is an embarrassing and depressing side effect. “It really doesn’t have to be this way,” says Devonald.
“I treated an 82-year-old who – after three sessions – no longer leaked. If you have had surgery, jsut the scar tissue can be an irritant for the bladder. If you just treat the scar tissue, then it stops aggravating the bladder to stop it to be overactive.”
Vaginal Dryness And Pain
Neither internal dryness or vaginal thinning should be thought of as a normal sign of aging. Like so many common symptoms, they are signs of something that needs addressing Yoni eggs can make a big difference to this condition, as well as vaginal rejuvenation. Click here to find out more about this treatment and how it can be used to combat several different pelvic issues.
For many woman, sex can be uncomfortable or even painful. Medical procedures, traumatic childbirth or sexual abuse can all lead to discomfort, but the pain doesn’t have to stay.
“There is a massive link between between the brain and the pelvis. We store up a lot of emotions in our pelvis,” shares Devonald. “Women who have been through sexual abuse may have dealt with it in their heads, but the emotion gets stored in their muscles. Physios speak about how releasing tight PF muscles often brings up a lot of emotion.”
After surgery, episiotomy, or stitches, women can be left with either painful or uncomfortable scar tissue. “If you manage to massage scar tissue, you can feel it breaking down under your thumbs. After a month, a patient’s pain will have drastically improved.”
Prolapsed Womb And Surgery
A prolapsed womb can happen whether women have had children or not. “With a lack of pelvic-floor rehab in our culture, many women are suffering from prolapsed wombs and having hysterectomies,” observes Terblanche. There is a belief that surgery is the normal protocol, but there are so many side-effects. Women are in danger of further organ relapse, low libido and painful sex.”
Devonald explains: “There are different grades of prolapse. The patients with minor grades can learn how to do the correct pelvic-floor exercises to prevent further prolapse. Even if there is weak collagen, making sure the muscle has good tone can make a big difference.”
Squatting is something we can all do as toddlers, but as we age and stay seated on chairs we tend to lose this simple pose. “Assuming a squatting position not only helps the PF day-to-day, but also supports our toilet habits. Devonald explains: “Using your toddler’s toilet step can make a world of difference to your intestinal alignment and pelvic floor.”
Breathing and pelvic-floor exercise go hand-in-hand. “It’s amazing the difference that just breathing properly makes. If your diaphragm isn’t working and relaxing properly, it makes it very difficult to your pelvic floor to relax properly. We need to get the two working together,” says Devonald.
Yoni eggs, pelvic floor physions and vaginal rejuvenation are clearly enormous game changers for women’s health in South Africa. There is no reason why each of us can’t live a life of physical comfort and unadulterated pleasure.