Common, but Not Normal: When It’s Time for Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

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This post is sponsored by Rome Physical Therapy, however, all opinions expressed are our own.

Let’s be real for a minute here, okay?

If you’ve had a baby, there’s a good chance that you’ve peed yourself at some point. Maybe jumping on the trampoline with your kids, or doing jumping jacks at the gym. Maybe when you sneeze. Or laugh too hard…You get the idea.

You’ve also probably thought, well, I’ve had kids, this is normal and just how it is.

Guess what…

Just because it is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal!

My story with pelvic organ prolapse

Last year during my annual exam, my doctor casually mentioned that I had some bladder prolapse. Wait, what? That sounds…serious, and a bit scary.

And it is both of those things, especially because many doctors, including my own, don’t inform you about what a prolapse is and what you can do about it (i.e. pelvic floor physical therapy). So many of us assume that it just comes along with having kids and something we have to deal with.

Fortunately for me, I was already acquainted a little bit with pelvic floor physical therapy because I had met Dr. Megan Rome, Founder, and Owner of Rome Physical Therapy, at Charleston Moms Annual Bloom Event for New and Expecting Moms in 2019. Dr. Megan had talked candidly to our guests about her own pelvic floor issues which was a big motivator for her to specialize in this type of physical therapy. I remembered how she stressed that peeing in your pants wasn’t normal and that pelvic floor issues weren’t something moms just had to deal with.

So, after my diagnosis last year, instead of spending time with Dr. Google freaking myself out, I put on my big girl pants and made an appointment with Dr. Megan.

Starting pelvic floor physical therapy

Since pelvic floor PT isn’t something commonly talked about (although it absolutely should be, especially to all pregnant women), I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first appointment. Dr. Megan did explain beforehand that it would consist of both an internal and external exam to properly diagnose the severity of the prolapse and make a more accurate treatment plan. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a little nervous but after birthing two kids, plus various other medical procedures over the years, I figured I could handle it.

Before we even started any of the exams, Dr. Megan explained everything she would be doing, what she was looking for, and why the kind of pelvic floor PT she practiced was a bit different than others. She explained that at many pelvic floor PT practices, you’re only with a doctor for a brief time and then you’re hooked up to a machine for the rest. While I haven’t had this type of PT, one thing I found so beneficial in working with Dr. Megan was being able to ask questions throughout our sessions and there were many times that things just clicked because of the way she explained things. On top of that, there was one aspect of pelvic floor PT that I wasn’t expecting, but was critical to making progress…

The mind-body connection

You might be thinking, what the heck does the mind-body connection have to do with my pelvic floor? I was too. Well mamas, apparently, everything. One of the first, and most important, things that Dr. Megan told me was that breathwork and connecting your mind to what your body was doing was so important. So often we are rushing through our daily lives and not paying attention to what our minds are doing vs. what our bodies are feeling. Throughout that entire first appointment and exam, Dr. Megan explained the importance of making this connection and how to do so when working through pelvic floor therapy.

I have to admit, I was kind of fascinated by the whole thing! We often take for granted what our bodies can do or what we expect of them. What Dr. Megan taught me so much about, even in just that first session, was slowing down our minds so we can consciously pay attention to what was going on with our bodies. Slow down? Moms? Is that even possible? (Spoiler alert: it is when you allow yourself the time and space to do so!)

Making time for practice (and mindful connection) at home

While I learned so much during my sessions with Dr. Megan, one thing she really stressed is how important it is to work on the various exercises I was learning at home as well. The goal is not to keep you in pelvic floor PT forever, but rather have these exercises as the tools in your toolbox for managing symptoms should they reappear in the future.

I’ll admit that I was hesitant about adding one more thing to my to-do list, but as I started building this time to practice into my days, I found it started to become a brief little break I looked forward to so I could quiet my mind while also working on strengthening my body. (And really, I usually spent less than 10 minutes a day on this practice, so while my kids watched a show or played, it was some much needed quiet mommy time!)

So, thinking pelvic floor therapy might be something you need?

We’re already busy enough as moms, so fitting in yet another appointment can feel like just another thing that needs to get done. Let me give you a few quick reasons why you should consider calling Dr. Megan if you’re dealing with any pelvic floor issues:

  1. Who likes to deal with insurance companies? Oh, no one, that’s what I thought. When I first reached out to Dr. Megan she offered to take my insurance information and call to see what was included in my coverage. Done, and done!
  2. One of the things that Dr. Megan really advocates for is preventing pelvic floor issues, which is why you can easily schedule a phone consultation with her to discuss any issues you might be experiencing.
  3. it won’t get better on its own! One thing I’ve learned throughout my pelvic floor therapy is that prolapse will never reverse, but that through pelvic floor PT, you can keep it from getting worse and learn how to manage your symptoms.

Uncomfortable symptoms shouldn’t be something we have to deal with just because they might be embarrassing to talk about. If you’re feeling like no one else is experiencing this, I can promise you, they are! Taking the right steps to seek help for your pelvic floor issues might seem intimidating, but is so worth it. Trust me, your bladder will thank you next time you’re doing jumping jacks at the gym!

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