As a new (or even not-so-new) mom, you might be experiencing symptoms that you didn’t expect. While many moms are familiar with postpartum depression or issues with breastfeeding, there’s one condition that isn’t talked about as much: pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).
Do you leak a bit when you laugh?
Do you have a feeling of fullness or bulging “down there”?
These symptoms are often dismissed as normal parts of being a mom or aging. And while they may be “common” they are NOT normal – they are indicators of pelvic floor dysfunction and you can do something about it.
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) occurs when the muscles of the pelvic floor aren’t working as they should. This might mean they are too tight, too weak, or not coordinating with other important muscles in your body.
What are the symptoms of PFD after childbirth?
If you have PFD, you might experience symptoms such as:
- Pelvic pain (including hip or tailbone pain),
- Painful sex,
- Pelvic organ prolapse,
- Leaking urine when you sneeze or cough, jump or laugh.
- Difficulty fully emptying your bladder or needing to go more frequently,
- Constipation, or
- Perineum pain
Some women may only notice one symptom, while others experience more than one.
Pregnancy and childbirth can contribute to PFD, but there are likely other contributing factors, including chronic constipation, lower back injury or surgery, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, IBS, obesity, aging, and menopause.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is diagnosed with a physical exam and thorough assessment of your symptoms. Your OB/GYN or other health care provider can discuss any pelvic floor symptoms with you. You may be referred to other specialists, such as a urogynecologist, urologist, or pelvic floor physical therapist.
Your practitioner might recommend pelvic floor physical therapy, biofeedback, medication, or surgery in more serious cases.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can be very helpful (and I highly recommend that being your first step) for re-training the muscles following the stresses of pregnancy and childbirth.
NOTE doing kegels in isolation is very rarely the answer to PFD, if you can’t get to a pelvic floor PT you can check out my Pelvic Floor Freedom program here >>>
Find the right online program for you.