A group of moms sip their coffee or tea as their children play. One mom jokes about how she hasn’t jumped on a trampoline since she had 7-year-old Molly, who flips in the air and lands on her feet.
“Oh, how I miss those days, being able to jump without soaking my underwear. I’ve learned the hard way to just put a pad on if I’m going to do any jumping.”
They all laugh.
Amy, whose second child is just 10 months old, has been trying to get back to running, but it always results in bladder pressure and leaking. She feels gross when she runs, and this activity that once provided stress relief has now become a source of anxiety for her.
She had been trying to find the courage to open up to her friends about it, but now, hearing the laughter, decides to stay quiet.
On the other side of her, Janeen forces a chuckle but has to excuse herself because ever since she had her youngest who is now 2, she has felt an unusual sensation of heaviness in her vagina. It has brought her great anguish, and while she can fake a laugh for a moment, she feels herself getting choked up and needs a moment alone to compose herself.
She has been silently suffering and only has mentioned it to her doctor who did a pelvic exam and told her everything looked fine
Beth is sitting across the room, nursing her first child who is 6 months old. The tone of the room changes as she asks, “How long does intercourse continue to hurt after giving birth?” Beth had a three-degree tear during her vaginal delivery.
The other women look at each other speechless. None of them knew this could be a complication from childbirth, and they are not sure how to answer her question or where to send her for help.
These stories are way too common but seldom talked about. What none of these moms realize is that there are solutions for the women’s health issues they are experiencing.
While bladder leakage might be common in the postpartum and menopausal years, it is something that can be treated. A feeling of vaginal heaviness typically is indicative of some descent of the pelvic organs, and while it might not be a true pelvic organ prolapse where the organ bulges out of the vaginal opening, it certainly can cause symptoms and impair quality of life. Painful intercourse affects many women not only postpartum but even women who have not had children.
These are just a few conditions commonly treated with women’s health physical therapy.
Taking the time to seek help for women’s issues can be life-changing. So the next time you sit with your girlfriends, bravely share if you need to, find support, and seek help through women’s health physical therapy or other women’s health specialists.
Leslie Kremer has more than 15 years of experience in practicing physical therapy. She received her Master of Science in physical therapy from Clarke University and her doctorate of physical therapy from Des Moines University. She is certified in Graston Technique and has experience with Kinesiotaping. She also has advanced training in women’s health, pregnancy and postpartum care. At Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in Dubuque, she offers physical therapy for women with concerns regarding abdominal and pelvic health.