Regardless if a baby was born vaginally or by cesarean, the pelvic bowl that once supported the growing baby has changed. These changes are a result of increased hormones and the sheer fact that it expanded, changed shape and supported the weight of a baby in utero.
Over half of women experience some form of pelvic dysfunction following childbirth. Often these issues last for years and are disregarded as being “normal”. I have found in my practice that women do not often talk about pelvic health with other women, their partners, or even to their physicians.
Issues that many women may experience can include: chronic low back, hip and pelvic pain, organ and vaginal prolapse, vaginal atrophy, vaginal pain, urinary incontinence, decreased vaginal sensation and decreased sexual pleasure. Some of these issues may be related to the muscles, ligaments and tissue laxity, while others are related to changes in hormones.
For most women the only advice they may be given is to practice their Kegel exercises to improve pelvic tone. Well, Kegels are not always the answer for pelvic dysfunction. Every woman is different, and may experience different issues and should be treated appropriately. I want to bring awareness to these issues, encourage women to talk about them, and to provide resources for different treatment options that are available here on Maui:
• Nurturing Our Bodies: I highly recommend the book, Wild Feminine; Finding Power: Spirit and Joy in the Female Body by Tami Lynn Kent. This book is filled with gems and insight into nurturing our feminine body, including mental, spiritual and physical exercises to heal the pelvis.
• Pelvic Rehabilitation: Angie Peters MPT is a Pelvic Rehabilitation physical therapist on island. She works with our prenatal and postpartum population to “restore the core and pelvic floor” and maximize pain free function. She accepts most insurance. Her website is www.mauipelvicrehab.com.
• Vaginal Rejuvenation: There are several different medical devices that are now available to improve vaginal tone and may improve urinary incontinence. The Mona Lisa Touch uses cold laser, while Thermiva uses radio frequency. These treatments are done in a physician’s office like Maui Lani Physicians and Surgeons and require several treatments.
• vFIT PLUS: This is a medical home device that uses therapeutic LED and heat that increases blood flow and muscular strength to improve pelvic tone. This device also helps reduce urinary incontinence. VFIT PLUS is available for purchase in my office.
• Vaginal Suppositories and creams: These may also be appropriate for issues like vaginal atrophy, pain with intercourse, decreased vaginal lubrication and urinary incontinence. Sometimes I may prescribe a low dose estrogen cream for these issues, or just a simple Vitamin E suppository can be helpful.
If you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic dysfunction I highly encourage you to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider to determine what treatments may be appropriate.