Have you ever sneezed and then peed yourself? Have you ever jumped on a tramp and your bladder gave out? Maybe you were running after your toddler in the parking lot, and you just couldn't hold it like you used to...some of us have even had issues with bowel incontinence...talk about embarrassing and frustrating...
I thought I was broken for life.
Everyone said, "oh, it's normal to have issues with bladder control after you have a baby." I'm here to tell you that even though post-partum incontinence is common, it's not normal. You can heal incontinence. There is hope. You don't have to stay broken...
I had done TONS of Kegels...but nothing worked. If anything, it seemed like the Kegels were making my incontinence WORSE which was not supposed to be how they worked! I felt like my muscles must be so weak that it didn't matter how many Kegels I did! I was so frustrated and I thought there must definitely be something wrong with me but I didn't know what else to do.
Finding out about pelvic floor therapy
The first time I heard about pelvic floor therapy in an exercise video, I finally felt hope. I was peeing myself a lot but on top of that, I had had a 3rd degree tear during my daughter's birth and I could still feel the scar hurting during intercourse even a year later. It made a lot of positions uncomfortable and I was looking for answers.
I started researching different pelvic floor therapists in my area and I called them all to ask some questions to find out who I clicked with the most. Since pelvic floor therapy is an intimate therapy, I wanted to make sure I felt at ease with my provider. As I was on the phone with one of them, I just clicked with her and I felt like she was the one who could help me so I set up the appointment.
Going to my first appointment
Going in to the appointment, I was a little nervous because I didn't know what to expect. The first thing my pelvic floor therapist had me do was lay down on my back so she could check my diastasis recti. Then she explained to me how a diastasis recti and a weak pelvic floor go hand in hand and how those parts of the body are meant to work together. She also explained that a weak pelvic floor can lead to other major health issues like organ prolapse where your intestines and bladder aren't being held up anymore and end up dropping requiring major surgery. So it is actually very important to heal incontinence and strengthen a weak pelvic floor to prevent organ prolapse later in age.
Then she asked if she could check the my pelvic floor muscles with an internal exam. (Some pelvic floor therapists don't do internal exams but I feel like they are very important...I'm not sure we would have found out what was really going on if I hadn't gone to a pelvic floor therapist who did an internal exam.) I was there to get help so that I could have a normal sex life with my husband again. It didn't matter to me what it took.
She gave me a sheet and had me take off my pants and underwear and lay down with the sheet on top of me while she was outside the room. When she came back in, she put on gloves and had some lube and very professionally checked my pelvic floor muscles by asking me to do certain movements like squeezing and then relaxing. I felt completely at ease (this is why it is very important you find a therapist that you feel comfortable with!)
A shocking discovery
The next thing she told me was totally shocking! It turns out that my muscles weren't weak...they were actually TOO tight! In fact, they were so tight ALL the time that when I was struggling to hold in my urine, they couldn't tighten any more so they would just relax instead which is why I was having so many issues! So she said I needed to work on relaxing my muscles and then when I needed them to tighten, they would! She said Kegels were the worst thing I could possibly do! It finally made sense why they weren't helping at all!
Then she worked on my scar from my 3rd degree tear by gently massaging it and breaking up the scar tissue. She was very gentle and kind. When she was done with that, she had me get dressed. Then she taught me some exercises I needed to do for relaxing my pelvic floor muscles and helping my diastasis recti heal. She showed me how to do them correctly to get the most benefit from them, then she sent me home with a sheet of the exercises that I was to work on daily and I set up an appointment to see her again in a week.
At every appointment after that, I would show her how I was doing with my exercises and she would give me the next level of intensity to work on for the next week. She made sure that I never felt too overwhelmed by the exercises and we talked a lot about how to fit them in while being a mom of my two little girls. Then she would work on the scar tissue in my vagina a little more and also showed me how I could work on it at home too.
What was so encouraging was that I was seeing a difference even with just 10 minutes of exercises a day! I had been having bad lower back pain when I would stand and wash the dishes or cook and that started to go away! It turned out that my weak core and diastasis recti was causing me back pain! My diastasis recti was slowly healing and getting less deep and less wide as each week went by. I also was having an easier time holding my urine and stopped having accidents. My incontinence was healed! The scar that used to hurt during intercourse also healed so that I could barely feel it all which was such a blessing! I am so thankful that I found out about pelvic floor therapy.
Pelvic floor therapy changed the quality of my life. I recommend it to every post-partum mom that I meet because taking the time to heal your body is worth it. Having a strong body that you can trust when you are running around after your kids will help you be the confident mom you were meant to be!
Grab my free guide with 5 exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor...these were the exercises that helped me the most from my pelvic floor therapy!
Learn more about diastasis recti and my journey with healing here:
xo Rachelle <3