As we begin this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Tasha Mulligan. I am a physical therapist, athletic trainer, triathlete, and mother of three. The topic of incontinence and prolapse isn’t one that I have always been focused on, but my own journey through pregnancy and delivery pushed me into the women’s health field of physical therapy five years ago.
My quick background – I was an avid triathlete leading up to my first pregnancy. I maintained a controlled exercise program throughout my pregnancy and was looking forward to returning to running following my delivery and my six-week follow up appointment with my OB/GYN.  But I soon found out that the stretching during the nine months of pregnancy and additional stretching and tearing of my pelvic floor muscles during delivery caused my pelvic floor to contract inefficiently and remain, overall, very weak.  Plainly put, my pelvic floor just didn’t bounce back to my pre-pregnancy days, giving me the sensation that the “bottom might fall out” when I attempted to get back to my workouts.
This is simply my story.  But then I began to realize that a lot of my female patients in the clinic would laugh and joke about wetting their pants when I asked them to perform specific exercises.  My grandmother talked about her uterine prolapse and my pregnant friends were asking a lot of questions about why they couldn’t hold their bladder.  It was then that I began to realize the widespread effect of weak pelvic floor muscles. It wasn’t just a few of us, but as I researched, I found there were millions of us, women of all ages – teenage gymnasts, new moms, older moms, women who have reached menopause and beyond – experiencing similar symptoms, often in complete silence.
So this is why I worked with a team of medical professionals to create the Hab It: Pelvic Floor DVD and why we are starting this blog.  I want women to stop laughing about it with their friends and stop accepting it as a natural process of aging or having kids and educate themselves on how one can take control. There are a lot of great resources on the internet (www.hab-it.com is one) and hundreds of physical therapists with a specialty in women’s health nation wide.  For every woman that is willing to talk about it, there are five with symptoms who are too embarrassed to admit it.  So,  let’s talk about it, Ladies!
Let me begin with a couple of definitions to make sure everyone is clear on some important terms: Your pelvic outlet is the diamond-shaped area, bordered in front by your pubic bone, in back by your tail bone (otherwise known as your coccyx), and on the sides by your two sit bones. Your pelvic floor is the soft tissue that spans this open area. Its responsibility is to hold up your bowel, bladder, and uterus, as well as to control the passage of solids, liquids, and air from these organs through three muscular openings. That’s a lot of responsibility!
When the pelvic floor and supporting muscles become weak and can’t optimally perform these responsibilities, you may experience symptoms of incontinence, which includes the inability to control your bladder and may present as occasional leakage as you laugh, cough, sneeze, run , or jump. There are several kinds of incontinence. The most prominent are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is exactly what I have described above as involuntary urine leakage with exertion, such as when you’re running and jumping, or simply laughing, sneezing, or coughing. Urge incontinence is the inability to hold your bladder once you have the urge to go. Women with urge incontinence will often know where every bathroom is in town, “just in case”, and go frequently to avoid any big accidents.
Another term associated with weakened pelvic floor muscles is “prolapse.”  “Prolapse” is best described as your uterus, bladder or rectum pressing down into or out of your vaginal opening. You may hear women say, “it feels like the bottom is falling out”, or “there is no support down there”to describe the sensation.  Essentially, a prolapse results when the pelvic floor muscles have become weak for various reasons and no longer have the strength to hold everything up and in.
I will sign off with the message that although structures within our pelvis have been compromised, we have the ability, with the commitment to an appropriate exercise program and consistent attention to neutral spine posture, to again support our pelvic organs and feel strong from our deepest core muscles throughout our body.  I am happy to be an example of a mom who, at her worst, had a grade three prolapse, had 3 vaginal deliveries, and now 9 years later is still running, boarding, hiking, and playing without limitations with her kids.  How is it that I am now feeling stronger than ever – it is a commitment to exercise, posture, and a true understanding of my pelvic basket of muscles.  You can do it too!

Published by Tasha

7 Comments

  1. […] Hab It Blog Why I am here Posted by root 5 hours ago (http://hab-it.com) The most prominent are stress incontinence and urge incontinence stress incontinence is exactly what powered by wordpress atahualpa theme by bytesforall Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Hab It Blog Why I am here […]

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  2. I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

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    • Thanks for your note. Some of it is, and some isn’t. Is there a particular place you’d like to use the information? I’m happy to connect with you on it. Please let me know.

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  3. Hello, can you please post some more information on this topic? I would like to read more.

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    • Do you have specific questions or topics you’d like to see more on? I plan to continue posting blogs but am happy to address questions or topics that you’d find of interest so feel free to ask!

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  4. Where did you take from such kind of information? Can you give me the source?

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  5. My information is from several different sources within the women’s health field of physical therapy, but also from my own experiences with my physical therapy patients, myself included. If you would like me to list my favorite resources from the courses I have taken, I would be happy to, but they are endless. Janet Hulme has been a leader in this field for more years than I have been a therapist, so that is a great place to start.

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