The ahem Pelvic Floor Problem

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{Update-June 2016}

I was at an event this morning and they were saying that Irish research shows that 22% of Irish people claim they would either do nothing or are unsure of what to do if they experience over active bladder symptoms – and almost 1 in 3 report embarrassment as the key barrier to seeking help for OAB. 90% of people would even feel embarrassed attending thier gp! 

Today’s event was just highlighting OAB as its world incontinance week. We all arrived to do a bit of jumping {the most stressful thing you can do to your pelvic floor apparently, probably with the exception of having a baby}. The physio gave us a great insight and we chatted frankly with the lovely Alison Canavan about how it is another taboo subject.

Since my last post the brilliant EVB have brought out leggings & capri pants which I think are a super addition to the shorts and there is also this site http://www.oab.ie for you to check out for more and clear information and you can then judge whether you should seek help as its a problem that can be helped and women do not need to suffer through this. 


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So it seems that this is quite a common problem but it is always talked about in hushed tones.

I knew my body was not quite as strong post Josh as it had been pre Josh but it was only really when I started training again I noticed that my pelvic floor was not quite right. Those star jumps did me no favours so I quickly moved to knee ups instead. As the months went on I noticed that sneezing, laughing and coughing were problematic.

I then started a run club in work but had to give it up after a few weeks when my symptoms worsened. I gave it a rest for a month or two but running is a great release for me so when the summer weather started again and I had gained a few pounds with office working I started pounding the ground again. 

The longest I was running was 7 kilometres and really enjoyed it but started to feel a heaviness and weakness in the pelvic floor region and after a 5k charity run the worst happened and it was only then that it kicked me into action. 

It’s funny how you can put things off by saying you can’t afford them but when push comes to shove you find a way. The very next day I had ordered these magic pants {more on those later} and booked into a recommended phyiso.

My first physio appointment was a few days later. It is Milltown Physiotheripst and I had heard great things about their women’s health section. My practitioner was called Stephanie and she put me at ease straight away. We went through a full history and whilst some might find some of the questions uncomfortable pre baby, I find post baby nothing really phases me in that regard. Next up was the examination which again I was dreading but whilst a little uncomfortable it confirmed Stephanie’s suspicions. During the examination she also ran though sine exercises with me and assisted with the technique which is key to recovery.

It seemed I had the reverse problem to what is the norm. You always hear to do your ‘kegels, kegels, kegels’ but my pelvic floor needed to relax.. A bit like myself sometimes I suppose 😉. I had a normal labour but due to a tear that caused me a lot of pain post partum this had caused my muscles to tense and as a result my pelvic floor had become unresponsive! 

It will take work and time but hopefully like me, my pelvic floor will learn to relax a little sometimes, go with the flow {if you excuse the pun}

Anyway back to the pants, my first run was last week with these bad boys. They are like spanks of the pelvic floor world.. My running pals were wondering on a hot day what I was doing putting on a double layer of clothing and in fact you could almost wear them like cycling shorts but I’m not sure I am that brave. Anyway they certainly did the job. On the recommendation of Stephanie I kept under the 5k and the heaviness was certainly better and most importantly no fear of leaking. I think for mama runners in general they are a must, read all about them here: http://evbsport.com/

Anyway I’m completely mortified in some ways declaring this unsexy side of me to the world but I think the reality of childbirth is you are unlikely to come out of it unscathed but the best you can do is make every effort to get your body back strong and in some semblance to where it was before which is what I am working hard to do! 

  

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2 thoughts on “The ahem Pelvic Floor Problem

  1. Aoibheann

    When I clicked on your link to read your story, I thought “here we go, another person who is going to talk about a weak pelvic floor, how ‘Kegels’ helped etc…why can’t someone talk about the opposite problem, like I have??”
    So you can imagine my delight when I got through the article a little that finally someone is talking about the problems that a high tone pelvic floor can create!!
    I too have this issue, after an induced instrumental delivery with episiotomy, nearly 5 months ago…. Whilst I haven’t returned to running yet, and so have not experienced any continence issues, I have strange symptoms which the medical team couldn’t explain.
    I am a Physio myself and I knew there was something not quite right so I attended Milltown Physio, seeing the excellent Maeve Whelan. Similarly, I am trying to downtrain my pelvic floor-it’s harder than you might think isn’t it! Although my symptoms have improved a little, I’m certainly not back to “normal”. Here’s hoping that the “time” I was told to give it by the medical team (this was the only answer they could give me), benefitted by my self trigger-point release and relaxation work, will eventually do the trick.
    I feel so strongly that there is not enough spoken about the side effects experienced post birth. Yes, most women seem to get back to their normal selves (that we know of!!) But is this true? Are women just under reporting symptoms and just getting on with things?? Perhaps not, and we are the unlucky ones who have on going issues. I certainly did not expect, 5 months after giving birth, to still be feeling like this!
    Great article. May there be more like this!! I look forward to reading/hearing more from you!!

    • Aoibheann, thank you so much for this comment as honesty yourself. High tone-that’s the correct term, a few people have been asking so thanks for that! 😉. It certainly is the tricker side of things to resolve. I really think that things just go unreported and people just accept that things are a bit askew but hopefully with more awareness women will feel that if they have problem they can fix them! I had a relatively normal labour and still the output is this issue so here’s hoping that as you say over time and some work that things improve but the first step of taking action has been done!

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