Why women need to get intimate with themselves

It’s estimated that a third of all women will suffer with some kind of pelvic floor disorder in their lifetime.  And that’s just medically reported cases of conditions like pelvic organ prolapse, bladder or faecal incontinence.

These are life changing problems, often accompanied by depression and fear.  It’s not easy to discuss.  And yet access to specialist women’s health physiotherapy in the UK is still subject to a postcode lottery.

Problems usually start around the child-bearing years but menopause is another massive milestone for women’s pelvic floor health.

It’s not uncommon for women with significant pelvic floor disorders to get access to counselling for the associated mental health conditions but not to a physiotherapist to treat the original problem.  And yet, studies consistently prove that pelvic floor exercises are by far the best way of rehabilitating and repairing pelvic floor problems.

However, according to Women’s Health Physiotherapist Melissa Millman, many women may think they’re doing their exercises but aren’t quite getting it right and this is where women’s health physiotherapists can literally change lives, by providing feedback and getting pelvic floor muscles working again.

Whilst French women receive full spectrum pelvic floor assessment and treatment in the post natal period, in the UK many GPs fail to even check the perineal area for healing, let alone have the time to perform an internal examination.

Melissa is about to set up a private practise in the Epping/Loughton area.  Having been working in one the UK’s leading Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Clinics, she is a specialist in the field. Melissa is confident that many women could lead lives free from the fear of bladder or bowel incontinence and the discomfort of pelvic organ prolapse with a course of specialist physiotherapy.

“There are some pelvic floor issues that you just can’t identify without the assistance and experience of a specialist Women’s Health physiotherapist,” says Melissa, who treats women until they have control over their pelvic floor issues before referring them on for long-term management, like Pilates or a specific core and floor class.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION

Melissa says that the best way of knowing if your pelvic floor is working properly is to do an internal examination.

  • Insert your fingers into your vagina and then squeeze your pelvic floor muscles around them.
  • Pelvic floor muscles run both horizontally and vertically so you are feeling for muscles to both tighten around your fingers and to lift them up.
  • Feel for any sensations of something pushing against your fingers or pushing them out, or even no feeling.

PILATES

“Exercise classes like Pilates are excellent for long term pelvic floor health,” says Melissa, “especially if you can find an instructor with a keen interest in the area.

“During a Pilates class you directly activate your tranversus abdominis muscle [the corset around your tummy and lower back] which has a direct impact on your pelvic floor.”

For more information contact Melissa directly: whphysiotherapy@gmail.com 07974624550

For a post natal Pilates class with a specific pelvic floor focus, contact Karen at karenlisalaing@gmail.com.

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