Minding the gap takes on a whole new meaning after we give birth! Once our bodies come back to life, we realize they are just not what they were prior to our new bundle of joy.
Our pelvic floor muscles seem weak, loose, and we often experience a gap-like sensation in our vagina. How to get fit, healthy and emotionally ready for daily life and sexual pleasure can largely depend on the physical route we take to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles.
What are pelvic floor muscles?
These are a group of diamond-shaped muscles located in our lower body that perform like a sling to support the bladder, bowel, vagina and uterus. Located between the coccyx and the pubic bone, these muscles contract to provide the lifting, tightening and supporting mechanism for the vagina, anus and uterus. When these muscles are relaxed we are able to urinate and have bowel movements.
What are symptoms of a weak pelvic floor?
• Dribbling or leaking urine when coughing, sneezing or exercising
• Lose of vaginal sensation
• A physical bulge in the vaginal area
• Inability to keep tampons in place
What causes a weak pelvic floor?
Pregnancy, obesity and chronic constipation can all be leading causes ofa weakened pelvic floor. Additionally, after we reach 40, our pelvic floor muscles start to lose their strength. We begin to notice things like bladder leakage and sexual intimacy struggles. Championing the need for kegels, or more importantly an exercise program designed and targeted to work specific muscle groups are two Houston based physical therapists, HallieAger, PT and Ingrid Hanna, PT at Back After Baby.
Women need to be aware that there are other factors leading to poor pelvic health. Too much weight and a sedentary lifestyle are huge culprits. It’s a logical function of gravity! If you are carrying excess pounds, they create a weight of pressure against those muscles and organs. Obesity and diabetes are two red flags that can contribute to worsening symptoms.
Why all women should strengthen their pelvic floor
Every woman over time will start to experience weakened pelvic floor muscles if they don’t take preventative actions. Physical therapists Hallie and Ingrid at Back After Baby, as well as gynecologist Dr. Natalie Drake have combined their skills to help women stay healthy bothimmediately after childbirth and through the aging and menopause years. Dr. Drake concludes, “If you don’t focus on your pelvic health now, you could find yourself leaking urine and feeling constant urges to urinate as well as on the path to lack luster sexual life and intimacy.”
Having been associated for years with research and education at The Cleveland Clinic and now practicing in The Woodlands, Texas, Dr. Drakerecommends her younger patients to Hallie and Ingrid who have developed, in her words, “ the most comprehensive preventative and rehabilitation exercise program for all young women through the easily accessed app Back to Baby.
In addition to the app, Hallie and Ingrid host in-person seminars that are perfect for women of all ages. Besides the pelvic issues moms experience, women in their 40’s and beyond begin to produce less estrogen, progesterone and other sex hormones that can lead to loss of muscle tone in the pelvic area. Their program is a great place for all ages to begin to strengthen and restore their bodies.
Though pelvic floor exercises can help many symptoms, other treatments may be necessary. For example, women who experience declining hormone levels during peri-menopause may suffer from vaginal dryness,thinning of the lining and pain during intercourse. These can be treated with hormones, pellet therapy and a new treatment for vaginal rejuvenation called ThermiVa.
Whatever your age or stage in life, get going with a plan to keep your body healthy in natural ways!Maintaining a strong pelvic floor throughout your life can be valuable to maintaining proper functioning blood vessels and nerve endings in your pelvic area. Take the healthy exercise program challenge today and enroll at Back After Baby or reach out to Dr. Natalie Drake at 281-402-3268 or vaginalrejuvenationtx.com ifyou are in need of additional advice on other non-surgical urinary incontinence or vaginal rejuvenation treatments.
If you have more questions or would like to speak directly with Hallie, Ingrid or Dr. Drake, please contact them at the numbers below to schedule your appointments:
Hallie Ager, PT 832-718-4691
Ingrid Hanna, PT 713-614-8766
Natalie Drake, MD 281-402-3268