Do you know how critical your pelvic floor health is to your overall well being?
Most of us are only aware of our pelvic floor during times of pleasure (contractions in the pelvic floor are what men and women feel in orgasms). But when your pelvic muscles are weak, you may suddenly be aware of it for entirely different reasons: pain, incontinence, prolapse, sexual dysfunction, even discomfort just sitting.
Clearly, keeping this area of the body healthy is central to your quality of life.
To learn more about what below-deck problems are possible and how to head them off before they happen, we talked with Dr. Susie Gronski, licensed doctor of physical therapy and a board certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner. In addition to knowing a lot about your private parts, she’s also a certified health coach. As she says, she’s the doctor for “everything down there” and signs her emails, “In loving wellness for your pelvis .”
Here’s what we learned from the “down-there” doctor:
Your nether regions have muscles – they aid in “pooping, peeing, and sex,” says Dr. Susie. She gives us the low down (ha ha) on the pelvic region and how a physiotherapist can help keep all that business functional and healthy.
Your pelvic floor is kind of like the base of a cereal bowl, Dr. Susie tells us, only no cereal bowl in the world does as much as this one. Hear the connections, functions, impacts, and responsibilities of these bits.
Let’s face it: we didn’t grow up talking with our parents about that part of our body once we successfully managed potty training, so we’re a little shy and squeamish. “We don’t focus on any part of our body unless we’re getting signals to focus there,” says Dr. Susie, especially that part of our body. And sadly, those signals are usually negative.
Pain with intercourse, abdominal pain, discomfort or pressure in that region are quite common, and many of us don’t know to associate that pain with pelvic floor health. That’s why it’s important to know the possibilities.
Many problems definitely start in our pelvic region, Dr. Susie says, then spread to other parts of the body as pain. Learn how your body communicates stress or dysfunction – symptoms might show up in one area when the roots of the problem are somewhere else.
Clients don’t know what to expect except that someone’s about to “assess their private parts.” Yep, that’s a tough one. Dr. Susie talks about how she communicates with clients to keep them comfortable and feeling safe while dealing with the issue at hand. So to speak.
Depending on the trigger(s), the treatment can take lots of forms, and Dr. Susie looks at all the possible causes. Pain isn’t just about body parts, it’s about a patient’s psyche, social constructs, all the things that weigh in on our lives. The treatment has to take all those factors into account to be effective, she says. Also, butt gripping. Yeah, you need to hear about that.
Nope, says Dr. Susie. Because science (which she explains in a super-friendly lay person way, hoorah). Basically there are lots of ways you can mess yourself up by keeping your abdomen tense, and Dr. Susie gives us the details. Hefty price for a six-pack.
Oh, look at that – we’re out of time! Come back for part 2, and you’ll get the FAQs on the big O.
Dr. Susie is currently in private practice in Asheville, North Carolina specializing in holistic men’s pelvic health. Dr. Susie is also the author of Pelvic Pain: The Ultimate *** Block and the creator of a unique hands-on training program to help men with pelvic pain become experts in treating themselves.
Learn more by visiting drsusieg.com.
Read more about pelvic floor health, including pelvic muscles’ role in your happy sex life and how controlling pelvic pain can have downstream effects on things like sleep. If you’ve taken steps to give your pelvis some “loving wellness,” we’d love to know what worked. Please share in the comments section, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let us know on Gennev’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, Gennev's closed Facebook group.