I’m 38 years old, and I have a prolapsed bladder. I discovered it after the birth of my first son, and needless to say, it was alarming. I hadn’t even realized something like this could happen, yet there I was, 6 weeks post-partum at my doctor’s office, with him confirming that, yep, I had a stage 2 cystocele. I was devastated. What did this mean? How would I be able to keep up with my son? Would it affect me having another child? Would I experience incontinence because of this?
Determined not to let this problem control my life, I sought out the help of a physical therapist specialized in women’s health. (Yes, these people exist!) I’m sure that I was nervous before my appointment, but I shouldn’t have been. Looking back, all I remember is the understanding, help and wonderful instruction my therapist provided me during this time. She walked me through my own anatomy, showed me how my muscles all work together to support the pelvic floor, and taught me moves that I could do on my own to help “strengthen things up down there”. She was my teacher and my cheerleader, who gave me encouragement when I needed it most and helped push me to work hard to see improvements.
And I did improve. Partly from just the natural recovery process after giving birth, but also due to the help from my weekly sessions with my PT. Through her I have a much greater understanding of how my pelvic floor and supporting muscles work together and how to keep them strong. Although I still do have a prolapse (it will never really go away), due to regular exercise that I learned from my PT, it rarely bothers me and I do not experience any incontinence. I’ve even started running again!
What I’d like you to take away from my story is this: If you are experiencing some type of incontinence – no matter what the cause – a trained Physical Therapist can help you. The exercises and moves that they will teach you may help you alleviate many of the symptoms you experience, and, regardless of treatment, truly should be a part of any plan – whether you are managing with medication, absorbent pads, or even thinking about surgery in the future.
BE STRONG! Take control of your life! Don’t let a prolapse or your incontinence dictate how you live.
Ready to take the plunge but need help finding a Physical Therapist? Check out the NAFC Specialist Locator and make your appointment today!