Raise your hand if you have been to doctor after doctor and been told your complaints are “normal” or “it happens at this age” or “that happens, you just had a baby.” Did you walk out of that appointment feeling hopeless and defeated? Were you left to search on Google and buy the next best item to solve your problems?
“Normal” complaints like leaking while running after your kids, feeling gassy and bloated after meals, having unwanted pain during sex, or having to go to the bathroom every hour are common among women. Especially in women who have had kids or are going through menopause. In fact, 1 in 4 women experience symptoms such as these.1 Just because these symptoms are common, they should not be confused with “normal.” More importantly, these common symptoms are often very TREATABLE.
Besides pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause (what most women might think of as the obvious contributors to common symptoms), other factors that play a role include2:
- posture and musculoskeletal system patterns
- ineffective pressure management
- bathroom habits
- muscle guarding patterns
- exercise overload
- chronic stressors or nervous system sensitivity
- diet trends
- body image
- social stigmas
Sometimes it takes a little digging to unravel all of these factors. It’s like peeling back all of the layers of an onion – each little step helps uncover what is at the center of the issue. You will likely benefit from seeking help and guidance from others to do so, but at the end of the day, you must be the ACTIVE participant in your long term health. Where do you start?
- Make a list of all of your symptoms – and star the ones that are top priority or affect your quality of life the most
- Make a list of your daily habits – starting with your morning routine, what your work day looks like, when you move, and how you wind down at night
- Keep a journal of your bathroom activity – how often to you pee and poop?, is it difficult or easy to empty?, did you have any leaking or urgency?, is this in time with your meals or fluid intake?
- Begin a meditation or breathing practice – follow a guided meditation on an app or youtube, or walk without headphones in or trackers on, slow down your breath and focus on using your diaphragm versus chest
- Find practitioners who will listen to you and work with you – naturopaths, osteopaths, functional nutritionists, health coaches, pelvic floor physical therapists, mental health therapists, etc.
If you are ready to say YES to your body and take control of your health (for good!), join me and nutritionist Bethany Kowaleski at Get Inside: Improving Women’s Health on July 24th in Mystic, CT from 9am-12pm. We will spend a full morning getting to the root of pelvic health, digestion, breathwork, ayurveda, and nutrition. You will walk away with the tools you need to begin an active health journey focused on long-term solutions and loving your body once and for all! This will be an intimate, safe space to share stories, connect with like-minded women, and find answers to your common but treatable symptoms. Sign up today (space is limited to 10 women!!) and get bonuses during the course as well, I can’t wait to see you there!
– Courtney Edgecomb, PT, DPT
- Wu JM, Vaughan CP, Goode PS, et al. Prevalence and trends of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(1):141-148. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000000057
- Karl M. Luber, MD, Sally Boero, MD, Jennifer Y. Choe, MD. The demographics of pelvic floor disorders: Current observations and future projections. Presented at the Sixty-seventh Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, Kamuela, Hawaii, November 14-19, 2000.
- Hallock JL, Handa VL. The Epidemiology of Pelvic Floor Disorders and Childbirth: An Update. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2016;43(1):1-13. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2015.10.008