By Ailsa Keppie BSc. Hons. RMT MFR Therapist
I am a woman in my forties. I am fairly fit. I workout regularly. I have the odd ache, but hey, that’s normal right? Sure I’ve had kids, I’ve had stitches ‘down there’, but I don’t leak when I cough, so I’m probably all good, aren’t I?
I was surprised to find out, as I began to research the pelvic floor, that I may have more to work on than I thought. Symptoms often don’t show up until menopause, and by then, while its never too late, the problems have definitely had a chance to become chronic.
Working through some simple pelvic floor exercises, I was surprised to find I couldn’t ‘feel’ my muscles working. I had little control over which specific muscles I was trying to contract or relax. I had normalized the slight feeling of pressure downwards I felt after standing for long periods. Some days, I needed to pee every hour and I was getting a bit nervous about being somewhere too far from a public restroom, ‘just in case’. But again, I told myself this was normal.
But maybe all this doesn’t have to be normal, maybe we have a choice.
It has been estimated that up to 90% of women (and possibly men too) have pelvic floor dysfunction.
Often a hidden cause of pelvic floor pain and either weakness or hypertonicity, is the fascia in the pelvic area. Urinary incontinence, Painful intercourse, even intertility problems, can be due to fascial adhesions or scarring in the pelvic area. The fascia is connected throughout the body, so tightness in one area can lead to problems in another area. A fall on your tailbone, can lead to all sorts of dysfunctions in the pelvic floor.
So what could I do? How could I help myself not get worse as I age?
I became fascinated by the possibility of working on this somewhat taboo area. I travelled to NYC to take John F. Barnes’ course on women’s health. I ordered books on the pelvis and how to keep it healthy. I signed up for online courses in jade egg practice and sexuality.
In short, I have stopped avoiding this area because it ‘wasn’t polite to talk about’ and I have embraced it as an integral part of my body and important to keep healthy and functioning!
I hope to bring my interest and knowledge to other women (and men) out there, who suffer in silence. Those who don’t talk about their problems “down there” because they feel embarrassed or ashamed.
I say, ‘Let’s talk about it! Let’s learn and discuss, and bring it to the table’.
Your pelvis belongs to your body too! Lets give it the attention it deserves.