If you had of asked me five years ago if I would consider assessing pelvic floor as a large part of my orthopaedic practice, my answer would have been NO WAY!
My background is in sport medicine. I work with athletes and weekend warriors. The last thing I envisioned for myself professionally was spending a good part of my clinical day looking at and treating people’s nether regions.
Fast forward to today and I am really excited to be offering pelvic floor physiotherapy as part of our compliment of clinical treatments. So what happened to cause such a shift in my thinking and my practice?
I started peeing my pants.
Let me elaborate. I am not alone in this unfortunate situation. One in three women suffer from some type of incontinence. In my case, since birthing my two beautiful children, I started having stress incontinence with things like physical exertion, coughing and sneezing. At first I wrote it off yet another transient effect of giving life however when I started to shy away from some of the things I love, like running and a good belly laugh, I realized there might be a problem.
Imagine my shock, when I finally gathered the courage to be assessed and found out my pelvic floor muscles were barely firing. I am a physiotherapist. I teach people core contractions. I firmly believed that my core was strong. I was wrong and I would have never known had I not gotten over myself and climbed up onto the table.
In my training I also learned a ton of other interesting facts which have lead to my current belief that pelvic floor physiotherapy is an absolutely essential service that needs to be normalized and treated as standard care.
In no particular order, here are some of the other facts that blew my mind:
- A weak pelvic floor is a stronger contributor to back pain than both obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
- The strength and tone of your core can only truly be assessed through an internal exam.
- This is not a condition of elderly women. It affects both men and women, young and old for a wide array of reasons, both behavioural and medical.
- You are equally likely to have incontinence because you are tight as because you are weak.
- One of the top reasons for institutionalization is incontinence.
- Pelvic floor physiotherapy is standard practice in several European countries and British surgeons will not perform pelvic surgery until pelvic floor therapy has been exhausted.
- There is really good evidence that pelvic floor physiotherapy is effective in treating incontinence, back pain, sexual dysfunction and prolapse as well as improving your overall strength and function.
If any of this resonates with you, let’s agree right now that peeing our pants is not normal. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is not just a buzzword or a sexy new trend, it is effective and necessary. If you would like to feel comfortable doing the things you love again, we would love to help.