Our friend and colleague Isa Herrera of the amazing Renew Physical Therapy center in NYC is our go-to resource for all things pelvic floor health. And lets be real. Most of us know little to nothing about this extremely vital muscle group (And it's not just about Kegels, trust us!) We love her webinars which provide a holistic approach to help relieve any kind of pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. You definitely want to check it out!
We were lucky enough to get Isa's inside scoop on pelvic floor health to share with our community.
What is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?
The pelvic floor muscles are involved in almost everything related to our femaleness. The pelvic floor is responsible for 5 main functions in the body. It is the connector between the upper and lower extremities. I call it “Grand Central Station”
Why does no one talk about it?
There seems to be a lot of shame around issues that involve the pelvic floor, whether it be with leaking or pain with sex pain or other types of dysfunctions that related to our lady parts. I think also culturally, especially in the US, there is a belief perpetuated by a lot of the medical community that life events like motherhood cause pelvic floor conditions and this is normal and should be expected and we should suck it up. So many of my patients report hearing things like “Welcome to motherhood” or “that can happen” or in regards to pelvic pain, “just have a glass of wine and relax”. My mission is to blow the lid off this perception and to make sure all women know that pelvic floor dysfunction is a real physical issues and not a psychological disorder. There are natural and holistic ways that we can care for our lady parts and in my webinar “Say Goodbye to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Pelvic Pain and Transform Your Lady Parts” - I give away my best tips and techniques so don't miss it. It will be up until July 13.
How do I know if I have a healthy pelvic floor?
Ask yourself these questions (there is a much more comprehensive list that I give at the webinar and in my online course “ Female Pelvic Alchemy”)
- Do I have pain with intercourse, gynecological exams, using tampons?
- Do I feel pressure or like something is inside my vagina or falling out?
- Do I leak when I lift my child, cough, sneeze or laugh?
- Do I have difficulty emptying my bladder or do I experience a slow urine stream or hesitancy of urination?
- Do I have pain with prolonged sitting, wearing tight pants, or when being touched in the vulvar area?
- Do I experience the urge to urinated a lot? (i.e. having to void >8x/day, or more often than every 2-4 hours)
- When I exercise, do I ever leak urine, loose stool or does air escape from my vagina?
Are Kegels really all they are made out to be?
So much mis-information has been posted out on the Internet that I have dubbed it “The Kegel Controversy”. When doctors tell women to just do their Kegels, more often than not there is more dysfunction created by doing them!
Some women have tight pelvic floor muscles to begin with (from birth, scar tissue, other factors) and if a muscle is tight to begin with, then you must first do what I call the “Reverse Kegel” to release and let go, to allow the vaginal muscles to regain its normal function, suppleness and flexibility. Unlike what the media wants us to believe, we are not all big in our parts after childbirth and pregnancy. We can actually be too tight and performing Kegels will cause more problems. This is the number one reason why Kegels don't work and they are not the nirvana we think they area. A proper Keel program is all about balance and must incorporate a Reverse Kegel. I have about 13 different kinds of Kegels in my program and I also teach women to assess their own pelvic floor muscles because we need to know this care and know what is going on with or bodies. Anything less than this will disempower us.
Best tips for pelvic floor maintenance?
- Don’t push with defecation or urination.
- Don’t slouch when sitting.
- Don’t lock your knees when standing.
- Don’t cross you legs when sitting.
- Don't hold your breath.
Fav fun fact about the pelvic floor?
Here are two!
- Vaginal farts or "varts" are due to pelvic floor muscle weakness! And, they can be fixed!
- Pain with sex after you have a baby is NOT normal. It’s common but not normal.
Thank you Isa!
Want to learn more? We can't reco her online program enough!