Essential Postpartum Therapy for Your Pelvic Floor
Pelvic floor dysfunction is more common than you may think for those in postpartum recovery. Pregnancy and childbirth put a lot of pressure and strain on your pelvic floor muscles that can impact bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include pelvic pain, leakage, and pelvic organ prolapse, among others. Thankfully, there is physical therapy treatment that can help make a huge difference in alleviating symptoms and suffering associated with this disorder. So, what can you expect from pelvic floor physical therapy? What are the range of symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction and when should you seek out therapy? Are there any at-home exercises that can make a difference when it comes to your muscles down there? We seek to answer these questions and more in this article.
Physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor therapy will help you train, strengthen, stretch and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Allowing you to take back control of your body and improve function. While it is common to have weak pelvic floor muscles, it is just as likely that your muscles may be too tight. It’s as important to properly release and relax your pelvic floor muscles as it is to strengthen them. These muscles play a very important supporting role for multiple bodily systems including the sphincteric, sexual, postural and lymphatic. “To function properly, they must be able to contract, relax, and drop. The goal of the pelvic floor exercises is to internalize muscle tension differences and feel the recruitment and release of the muscles.”
Seek out therapy if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
-Bladder and bowel urgency/frequency
-Constipation, irritable bowels, leaking stool, straining with bowel movements
-Diastasis recti (the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles during and after pregnancy)
-Pain in pelvis, lower abdomen, vagina, rectum, perineum, tailbone or lower back with or without intercourse
-Painful scars along the abdomen and pelvis
-Weak pelvic floor
Please consult your healthcare provider or ask for a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist if you suspect you have any of the above problems. Your OB or midwife may also be a good resource for treatment.
We’ve talked a lot about the symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction and why it is important to train your pelvic floor muscles. But how do you improve function on a daily basis? What can you do on your own to strengthen and release your muscles? First, you need to know how to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles.
Feel the muscles: Insert one or two fingers into the vagina and one finger at the opening of the anus to feel the contraction and lifting of the muscles. You should feel the sensation of holding back urine and holding back gas.
Watch the muscles: Use a mirror to look at the pelvic openings. Contract your muscles and watch the openings closely, the area between the openings should lift. If you see a bulge, this is your muscles dropping and relaxing.
(Be advised, it is not recommended “to conduct pelvic floor exercises while urinating every day. Contracting your pelvic floor muscles and cutting off urination can lead to UTI’s and other medical issues.”)
Now that you know how to find your pelvic floor muscles, here are some tips to strengthen them:
-It should only take a few minutes to do your pelvic floor exercises and they should be done in varying positions, ie. walking, standing, sitting.
-Before starting, completely relax the pelvic floor, squeeze/contract the muscles, then fully release/relax again.
-Make sure you’re only engaging the muscles in the pelvic floor, not compensating with any surrounding muscles.
-Remember to breathe! Just as you would with other muscle strengthening exercises, exhale as you contract, inhale as you release.
-Stay consistent. Daily exercises can help strengthen and maintain your pelvic floor muscles.
Performing pelvic floor exercises properly and consistently can allow you to reconnect with your body and how it functions. You can regain control of your bowel, bladder, posture, and sexuality with only a few minutes a day.
Read more at: https://every-mother.com/empower/pelvic-floor-therapy-what-to-expect-postpartum
Suggested products from Vespertine:
Pelvic Floor Wand and Massage Therapy Tool from Intimate Rose