bladder health

How To Manage Pelvic Pain Over The Holidays

Hi friend. I’m gonna get straight up personal with you and if you don’t know me yet, allow me to introduce myself. I am Amanda Fisher, pelvic floor physical therapist with a history of pelvic floor issues from peeing my pants to pelvic organ prolapse to pelvic pain to postpartum issues from 3 cesarean deliveries.

Yes, I have experienced my fair share of pelvic floor dysfunction. Now I know it was God’s Plan for me to go through those times to help people like you.

Pelvic pain is a real thing and I can tell you first hand, I have HAD it and still HAVE IT from time to time.

After 10 years of having pelvic pain, I know what to start doing when I feel it creep back in (because let’s face it, we all get busy and fall off the bandwagon of habits we SHOULD continue because it is good for us…but I'm human too) and this time of year is the perfect time for it to come a knockin’. Who isn’t a tad bit stressed around the holidays?! Um…I think we are all raising our hands here.

So, how do I get a handle on my pelvic pain over the holidays?

First thing to do is find a pelvic floor physical therapist in person or virtually. Having a coach or a professional to chat with about your symptoms and give you support/ advice when you need it most is a MUST!! This also creates accountability for me to stay on top of my exercise regimen to kick pelvic floor symptoms.

Second, I schedule or plan out my week and month. I tend to do this on Sundays. I look at my week and plan out what days I can go to the gym (with or without my kiddos), what mornings/ evenings I can walk, and when I can do my pelvic stretches/exercises (I try daily). Writing it down in a notebook or planner makes my brain think that this is happening today and I almost never miss it IF I write it down.

Third, I get a journal and spend a few minutes EACH morning while sipping my coffee (before my kids wake up) writing five things I’m grateful for and 1-2 things I can do today for someone in my family/ friend circle and for a complete stranger. This helps re-wire the brain for positive thoughts. And we could all use a little more of this in our lives, am I right?!

Fourth, motion is lotion. The days I sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix are the days I feel worse. This could be because I am not staying hydrated, or eating more junk food, BUT mostly, it’s because I am sitting in one posture (bad) and not getting blood flow to the tissue. I have to move to feel better and you have to move to create energy and get the blood flowing. I feel so much better after working out, walking etc and then following it up with 1-3 quick pelvic floor stretches to lengthen tissue. So bundle up and get out! OR set a timer in your home and don’t stop moving until it goes off. Follow up with a happy baby stretch or a deep squat to stretch out the pelvic floor muscles.

Fifth, don’t cancel on myself!! This time of year is hectic with all the holiday parties and childhood gatherings, BUT I still make time for myself so I can continue to feel better. And you should too! It is easier to continue a habit I am doing consistently because if I stop it one day, it is much harder for me to get back on the horse and start again.

If you want more information on this or what else I am doing for pelvic floor issues, please email me amanda@empoweryourpelvis.com.

Bladder Chat

Bladder, bladder...what's the matter?  

I once did a community talk with that title (Bladder, Bladder What's the Matter?) and I loved it!  Huge turnout which was eye opening to so many women that they were experiencing similar bladder symptoms to the women sitting next to them-no matter their age!

Urinary incontinence, leaking urine with exertion (coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting, exercise etc), happens to 1 in 3 women.  If you are in a public place today, look around.  That is quite a few women dealing with some sort of leaking.  Some of those women have been dealing with it since childbirth because maybe they were told it was normal at the age.  Some developed it closer to menopause when tissues and hormones started to change.  And some, well, they have been peeing a little bit with exercise since they were teenagers.  OR, maybe some of you don't leak (yet), but are experiencing the "gotta go pee" feeling BEFORE you leave for exercise class, when you get to the gym, during the class (fear of leaking) and then after the session.  Your bladder is owning you.  You fear of leaking is taking over your day and maybe that's why you are only wearing black workout pants anymore. 

No matter when your leaking or frequent urgency began, know this, it is a COMMON thing that happens BUT it is NOT NORMAL.  

You mean I can be fixed?  Sure thing. 

First, if you are having the urgency and frequency, it is possible your pelvic floor muscles are contracting (tightening) and you will want to see a pelvic floor physical therapist to learn how to control and calm them down to decrease your symptoms and take back your control of your bladder.  Think about all the time your will save from running back and forth to the bathroom.  It's worth it!! 

Same goes for leaking urine.  Not all women with urinary incontinence are dealing with just weakened muscles.  A lot of the time, other things are going on, like an imbalance within the muscle tissues.  I see this a lot in postpartum and menopausal women.  The muscles are not communicating to each other correctly and some develop tightness and some are working how they are suppose to.  With seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, you are able to bring your awareness to those muscles and learn how to control and coordinate them again.  

So...this holiday season while spending time with people you love, why not ask a group of gals (maybe over some wine :) ) who has bladder issues going on and what they have done to improve them.  Maybe even suggest, you know what, this year, let's take back our health and improve these bothersome symptoms by seeing a pelvic floor PT :).