This post is going to be bit different from my usual. I am going to discuss my personal experience with pelvic floor dysfunction. This is a sensitive subject for a lot of women and that is why I feel compelled to talk about it.
So here goes…
Until Spring of 2016, I had no idea what pelvic floor dysfunction was. I didn’t know prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. I didn’t know that my low back pain could all be related to these things I knew nothing about. Turns out, I had been experiencing all of these things without knowing they weren’t normal.
So what exactly was I experiencing? I’m going to get super personal, so if you don’t want to know, I suggest you skip ahead.
Ever since the birth of my daughter in January 2011, I had experienced symptoms that I assumed were my “new normal.” I peed when I sneezed hard or coughed. My vagina felt “droopy.” I figured there wasn’t anything I could do about it, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.
In March 2012, I began Crossfit and then in 2014 I shifted my focus to powerlifting. It became a joke about being prepared for squats and deadlifts with huge maxi pads. It was miserable but again, I figured it was normal. We all joked about it so clearly I wasn’t alone. I loved powerlifting and quickly became very connected to the USA Powerlifting community in Arizona. These were my people.
Time went on. I continued to soak through pads when I lifted (this was normal, right?). The drooping feeling came and went. Again, nothing to be overly concerned about, right?
Then it happened. I woke up and began to get dressed but something felt different. I felt like a tampon was falling out. Except there was no tampon. I wasn’t on my period. I panicked. I knew something wasn’t right. I called and made an appointment with my midwife as soon as they opened. Then I turned to Google. Because Google has all of the answers.
Fast forward to my midwife appointment. I expressed concern over what I thought could be prolapse (thanks Google). During my exam, my lovely midwife confirmed “yep that’s your bladder.” We discussed what was next. Her recommendation was physical therapy. Immediately my mind was thinking “wait. That’s a thing? I don’t know about that.” But. I didn’t see any other option.
The assistant brought in the referral and she noticed I was wearing a powerlifting t-shirt. She took it upon herself to tell me I was going to have to quit lifting. I was in a puddle of tears before she even knew what she had said. I had put so much time and energy into powerlifting. I had built a team of amazing women who were preparing for their first meet. I had the USAPL Arizona community . My passion was coaching Crossfit and powerlifting. This was my life! In one statement, this woman had taken all of that from me. I was devastated.
I felt isolated. Alone. My body was failing me and I had no one to talk to. I was frustrated and scared.
I spent months in physical therapy. I spent so much time and money trying to fix this but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere at all. When I did the math, I was spending 10 hours (including drive time and treatment time) and almost $200 a week on something that wasn’t helping. I couldn’t continue. So I quit therapy and began to do my own research.
I found bloggers and writers and experts with tons of information and personal experience. I studied diagrams and tried different exercises. I came up with my own treatment plan. I began to see improvements almost immediately. Then things slowly got better.
6 months later, I can confidently say I very rarely experience leaking when I lift. The prolapse has almost completely healed.
I talk about this to whoever will listen. It’s a conversation that needs to be had. Women need to know that these things are so common but they are NOT normal. It does not have to be this way.
So why am I letting the world into my personal business? Because I’m tired of it being taboo. I’m tired of feeling like these conversations should be had while huddled in the corner in hushed tones. So let’s bring the conversation out into the open. Let’s talk about.