Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Dos and Don’ts
Sometimes suffering with pelvic floor dysfunction, or PFD, can make you feel like you are limited in what you can do. If you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, or bowel control issues, it can be confusing or frustrating for you as you try resuming your normal daily routine without irritating your symptoms. Being able to lead a full, satisfying life with PFD is important, but engaging in activities which aggravate your disorder can cause your symptoms to worsen. Here are some things to keep in mind about PFD as you go about your daily life.
1. DO Exercise
Don’t choose a workout that includes heavy-lifting such as crossfit, or will put intense pressure on your pelvic floor such as running, or plyometrics. The straining in those types of activities can cause your PFD to get worse over time. Choose exercises such as restorative yoga, walking, and other low impact exercise that will not put pressure on your pelvic floor. Looking for something specific? Check out Hab-It, or Pfilates™
2. DO Pelvic Brace
Don’t forget to engage your transverse abdominus (your lower abdomen) and your Kegel muscles when you sneeze, cough, or laugh can cause urine leakage to occur. Brace yourself and save a trip to the bathroom and a change of underwear. When you engage these muscles, your pelvic floor will not feel the downward pressure that results from these everyday movements.
3. DO Retrain your Bladder
Don’t head to the bathroom every time you feel the slightest urge to pee. Your bladder needs retraining to stop triggering frequent restroom breaks out of habit. To start retraining, avoid taking bathroom trips less than two hours apart. Over time, you will you find that you have the urge to urinate less frequently and you will be urinating larger amounts. Not sure if you’re releasing a full bladder? Count how long you urinate for. A full bladder should be a stream of at least ten seconds long. Don’t forget to count with a “Mississippi” in between each number! Tell your bladder who’s in control and retrain yours!
4. DO Seek Treatment
Don’t suffer from the interfering symptoms of PFD. There are treatment options available that will fit your lifestyle and diagnosis. The first step is finding a urogynecologist who can assess your needs and suggest a treatment that will work for you. Some of those choices may include: physical therapy, pessaries, medicines, or surgery.
5. DO Live Your Life
Don’t let your PFD slow you down or dampen your spirits. Modify your activities, but not your life to adjust to your diagnosis. Consider joining an online support group to help you cope with the struggles of PFD. Visit voicesforpfd.org for more information about how you can reach out to others who are suffering from PFD, as well.