29 Things Everyone With a Vagina Should Know

As Thanksgiving beckons, we wanted to send you off into the holiday weekend with some enlightening fun. Here, from Buzzfeed’s Carolyn Kylstra, is “29 Things Everyone With a Vagina Should Definitely Know.”

We love the way Kylstra’s writing is forthright and informative, and there should definitely be more sexual health writing out there like this! Read the article to learn more about vaginal tenting, G-spots, the vagina after birth, hymens, and much more. Remember, too, that vaginas come in all shapes and sizes and they’re all beautiful!

And, as always, never be afraid to discuss your body with your partner or with your healthcare professional. If you have any problems or questions, we at BBPT are always here to help, too.

 

 

This holiday season, love yourself and your vagina!

Amy on SirusXM’s Doctor Radio!

By Amy Stein

Wednesday night I was live on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio at NYU Langone with Dr. Benjamin Brucker and Dr. Joseph Alukal primarily to discuss male pelvic pain. However we did also speak about female pelvic pain and dysfunction. It was in a radio studio right in the hospital.

We spoke about what pelvic floor PTs do during an initial evaluation, what are signs and symptoms that there is a musculoskeletal problem, how to palpate the pelvic floor muscles, what are possible causes and more.  We also discussed prostatectomy and how pelvic floor PT can enhance the outcomes.

We had callers call in from Arkansas, California, Tennessee and New Jersey, and ask about hip pain’s causes and what to do about it; one a man called in asking about his wife’s progress on her pelvic fractures; another asked some post-prostatectomy questions, and much more.

It was quite exciting and a great experience! Check out some images below.

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A Pelvic Messenger Double-Header!

In case you missed them this week, we had not one but TWO back to back Pelvic Messenger shows, one on Wednesday, and one today. But don’t worry, you can still listen to them online, on our blogtalkradio site! Just see below for links and details.

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Wednesday’s show featured Dr. Philip Weeks, a naturopath who discussed the recipe for healing interstitial cystitis. Here is his biography, from our Pelvic Messenger site:

Philip Weeks is a leading expert on natural medicine and nutrition and a Master Herbalist and acupuncturist. Renowned for his deep understanding and knowledge of ancient medicine, he runs busy practices in London and Hereford, UK. He is deeply versed in Ayurvedic, Arabic, Chinese, and Greek medicine and synthesizes these systems in his clinical work with patients. He is the author of “Make yourself better: A practical guide to restoring your body’s well being through ancient medicine” as well as the book he will be discussing in detail today “Painful Bladder Syndrome: Controlling and Resolving Interstitial Cystitis through Natural Medicine.

You can listen to the show here.

Today’s show was a rescheduled episode, with Laurie Keefer, PhD. She discussed the psychological aspects of living with chronic pelvic pain. Her bio is here, also from The Pelvic Messenger site:

Laurie Keefer, PhD is a health psychologist and Associate Professor of Medicine in Gastroenterology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

You can listen to the show here.

 

Pregnancy Possibilities?

By Riva Preil

Kudos to Rebecca Schuman for sharing her much appreciated and entertaining perspective regarding the recent New York Times pregnancy videos.  The videos featured Clara Horowitz Peterson, an elite distance runner, who maintains her high level of physical activity throughout pregnancies.  Clara shares several tips and techniques with viewers, and she teaches exercises to expectant mothers (Refer to video here).

In case you watched that and thought “WHAT THE HECK?  There is no way that I could possibly do THAT in my X month of pregnancy,” rest assured you are not alone. Rebecca Schuman, a woman in her 29th week of pregnancy, had many insightful and humorous reflections about the videos (November 6, 2014 in Slate, entitled “Stop Fit Shaming Pregnancy”).

According to Schuman, the video portrays a pregnancy fitness level that is unrealistic for your average mommy-to-be.  Clara raises the bar beyond a point of feasibility, and her workouts are non-relatable to most. Schuman begs, “Elite athletes of the world, please know that there is nothing I support more than you distance-running while in labor…But I really don’t want your workouts broadcast on the New York Times as if any old preggo could actually complete them.”  She reminds her readers that from the ultra-marathoner to the more sedentary pregnant woman, the common denominator is that “We are all living in simultaneous joy and trepidation as we wait and hope that our babies come out healthy.”  And while some women can participate in CrossFit or other intense workout routines, others are not physically capable of doing so.  AND THAT’S QUITE ALL RIGHT.

Pregnant and curious to learn several appropriate stretches that can reduce low back pain and help maintain mobility?  Come see one of our specialized physical therapists at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy!  We can help create an individualized exercise program to meet your pregnancy needs.

 

We Care About Your Flare!

By Riva Preil

With only two sessions remaining to the “semester,” have YOU taken advantage of your opportunity to learn at The School of Pelvic Health yet?  If the answer is no, bear in mind it’s never to late to educate– we hope to see you at the next class on Tuesday, November 11, at 7:00 PM.

At the next class, Stephanie Stamas will discuss My Symptoms Keep Flaring, Is That Normal?  Unfortunately, as many patients can attest, flare ups are often part and parcel of the therapeutic process. In fact, I try to educate patients at their initial evaluation about the potential for a “flare-up” (i.e., feeling worse immediately following physical therapy prior to feeling better).  When patients know what to expect, they are less fearful and worried when flare-ups occur as a result of treatment.

The way I explain a flare up to my patients is that it is the body’s way of telling us that this work is necessary and beneficial. The muscles, fascia, and connective tissue have become accustomed to a faulty shortened position. What feels “normal” to them is actually pathologic and tight. Therefore, after manual therapy that involves stretching and manipulation of the shortened tissue, the body is adjusting this new healthier state. Even though the adjustment phase may be uncomfortable and sore, it is EXTREMELY GOOD in the long run and it is a part of the healing process.

An analogy I give to explain the concept relates to when I educate patients about proper posture. After teaching correct sitting and standing posture, patients often report that it feels “weird” or “unnatural” even though it is BETTER for their body than the previous poor habits.  Creating new habits feels strange and awkward, even if the changes are improvements.

The same applies to the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue- the changes made in physical therapy are beneficial and healing, despite feeling initially painful and uncomfortable.  To learn more about flare-ups and how to manage them (HINT: Think “Ice Ice Baby…”), be sure to attend Stephanie’s class on Tuesday! We look forward to seeing you there!

Why Wait?

By Riva Preil

As all new mothers can attest, the pelvic floor muscles experience the stretch of a lifetime during labor and delivery.  Many women experience stress (SUI) or mixed urinary incontinence (MUI), involuntary loss of urine, following the birthing experience.

A recent Danish study (International Urogynecology Journal, January 2014) outlines several risk factors that are associated with developing either SUI or MUI.  These include:

  • Body mass index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 30 prior to pregnancy
  • Urinary incontinence during the pregnancy
  • Perineal lesions or tears during delivery
  • Anal sphincter tears during delivery

Svare, Hansen, and Lose, the study authors, discovered that the second factor, incontinence during pregnancy, was the strongest predictor of whether or not an individual will experience incontinence postpartum.

Practically speaking, this indicates that pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises are appropriate during pregnancy.  In fact, addressing this issue DURING pregnancy can help decrease the risk of developing incontinence AFTER pregnancy.  So why wait?  Nip the issue in the bud and take charge to PREVENT the issue from ever developing. If you are an expectant mother experiencing involuntary loss of urine, pelvic floor physical therapy might be just the solution for you!  Speak to your obstetrician about a referral to physical therapy, and please give us the opportunity to help you TODAY.

Is It All In My Head?

By Riva Preil

Join us tonight at Beyond Basics, 7:00 PM, for the next installment of The School of Pelvic Health.  The next fascinating class is entitled Sexuality and Pain- Is it All in My Head?  Stephanie will discuss how pelvic floor muscle tightness and dysfunction contributes to dyspareunia, pain with vaginal penetration, arousal, and erectile dysfunction.

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, one of my biggest pet peeves is when patients inform me they have been told by medical care providers there is apparently nothing wrong with them.  When diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and blood tests, are all negative, and there is nothing apparent or blatantly obvious that is “wrong,” patients at times begin to question themselves. Some patients have even told me that they were encouraged to “Just take a Xanax.”

This, my friends, upsets me tremendously.  Not only are some patients being mis/un-diagnosed with a proper diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, but they are being told they are psychosomatic or simply too stressed.

I like to make a clear distinction to my patients: It’s one thing to say it’s all in your head, and it is another thing to acknowledge there is a strong mind body connection. I believe in the latter, and many of my patients will admit they notice a worsening of symptoms when they are stressed.  The reason for this is because stress affects our muscles and body in actual physical ways and the manifestation of these physical changes are often associated with muscle tightness and pain.

To learn more about the mind-body connection and how it relates to PELVIC PAIN, be sure to join the class tomorrow night!  We look forward to seeing you there!

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