Updated: Nov 18, 2020
How many of you are used to saying those words. Hands up for all my mommas! You know, that was one thing that no one told me after I had my daughter—don’t try to hold anything in down there! It took me a good 6+ weeks to be able to NOT pee all over myself. I was wearing pads just to catch the urine! Though eventually my muscles got stronger and started to work again. Then I had another kid—I was ready for it this time, though it took just a little bit longer, but we were okay! Then I had the 3rd. Not really sure what I was thinking, but tried to run a 5K about 3 weeks after he was born. At mile 2, I had to stop…and literally cross my legs—what was happening to me??
Fortunately, I have since recovered. I do attribute this to my Peloton training with the bike, tread and strength workouts—i.e. tight core. But I also realized I am pretty young in this journey.
So what happens if you do pee a little when you laugh or cough, you are in good company. 1 in 3 women—yes you read that correctly—suffer from this; 50% of women, over the age of 55 have some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction. WOAH—trust me when I say, you are not alone! Sometimes, this actually doesn’t present as leaky urine, but as constipation.
So what does this mean? Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to control the pelvic floor muscles. In laymen’s terms—those muscles you use to hold in her your urine and push out stool…they get so weak, they just stop working.
So great, you basically just told me this is something everyone deals with. But what if I follow it up by saying, there is hope-- pelvic floor physical therapy! What? I thought that was for my hurt knee or low back pain. Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles that help to hold your pelvic organs in place. When they get weak, the organs lose their support structures. Physical therapy helps target and strengthen those muscles—with the goal of making them stronger and work better—i.e. no more leaky urine!
So if you feel a bit embarrassed, just remember—I see about 25 patients a day. Let’s assume half are women (12-ish). As the stats above indicated, at least 4 of you are suffering from this—so say something! Your doctor cannot help if you don’t tell us what is wrong. I am here to tell you, this is something we can make better!
…until next time, #IrishDoc07