Am I the only one with an overactive pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is an amazing anatomical structure and, like most of the human anatomy, is taken for granted on a daily basis.

It is what surrounds and acts as a foundation for our bladder, uterus and rectum. Being the ‘home’ of the pelvis, it works together with the abdominal muscles and diaphragm to support the function of these organs, so that we can control our bowel and bladder movements, be sexually active and enjoy it, as well as carry and birth our babies.

 

So, as this structure supports such important functions, one can imagine that if the muscles are overactive and working unnecessarily hard, problems will occur.

Well, if only I had known that when I started having control and sexual issues at the ripe age of 25 years old. Every sneeze, squat or lift would cause a little stream; it would even happen at random times like when I was working at my desk, minding my own business. Sex became painful too and I felt as though I had a constant UTI.

I felt embarrassed and confused, like I was experiencing something I thought only older people (like much older), pregnant women and women who have gone through childbirth experience. I tried to ignore what was happening and pass it off as something that would fix itself, but like with most things, that approach didn’t work.

 

After doing an extensive Google search and diagnosing myself with various problems – as one does – I realised that suffering in silence was not working and I needed to get some help with whatever this problem was. After opening up to a friend, who happened to be a physiotherapist, she suggested I see a women’s health physiotherapist and although unfamiliar with this term and having little knowledge around it, I was surprised but happy to hear that there was a niche to this profession, specifically for women. How cool!?

 

During my sessions with my physio I learnt so much about my body and myself. As a teenager and young adult I always experienced lower back and hip pain which I put down to various things like my heavy school bags, bad posture etc. However, it actually turns out my joints are hypermobile – meaning that they can move beyond what they should – and because I had been using them, particularly my hips, in this way for years, some muscles were overworked and stronger than others. You can imagine the tension that years (basically a whole lifetime) of hyperextending your joints and overcompensating with various muscle groups would cause. Hence, the start of pelvic floor issues. 

 

My sessions with the wonderful women’s health physio included treatment of my lower back, upper leg/thigh, and diaphragm muscles. I also needed treatment of my internal muscles – the actual pelvic floor muscles – which was not the most comfortable thing but had the biggest impact.

The main lessons I learnt while attending these physiotherapy sessions were how to move my body and joints in a safe way, how to be more consciously aware of my pelvic floor and mentally connect with the muscles to help them relax, and I became aware of the impact stress and anxiety can have on the pelvic floor. 

 

After a couple of weekly sessions my continence and sexual issues began to get better and I felt like my body was back to acting it’s age.

I felt empowered and wanted to educate my female family, friends and colleagues about pelvic floor issues and how it can affect one’s life.

I will be forever grateful to my physiotherapist for educating and helping me. It made me realise that pelvic floor issues are more common than we think and there is no need to suffer in silence or ignore the symptoms.

 

Although I still experience some pelvic floor issues, particularly when stressed, anxious or after exercising, the symptoms are not even close to what they were initially. I am able to understand and identify what is causing the symptoms and I’ve been able to take what I learnt from my physiotherapy sessions and apply it to prevent my symptoms from worsening.

 

If you are reading this and feel embarrassed or alone with your incontinence, painful sex or constant discomfort, there is no need.

It is more common than one would think and the appropriate treatment is available and accessible. You aren’t the only one with an overactive pelvic floor and it is something that can be helped. So go out there and get the help that you deserve so that you can have a happy and healthy pelvic floor!

 

With love,

Your Pelvic Floor Sister

 

If you are experiencing any of the issues or any related issues to those expressed in this article, seek out the advice of a professional and get the help you need to ensure your pelvic floor is healthy and happy.

 

 

 

 

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