Getting to Know my Vajajay: My Journey in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
WARNING! This post covers private things in private places. Sensitive minds and eyes should leave now.
So why might ones Pelvic Floor need rehabilitation? There are many reasons; they all boil down to pelvic pain. This may be a result of illness, child birth, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome), years of pain and pelvic floor tightening, painful sex and many more. It is complex and as usual – with most of the things I get to experience – not necessarily understood by many doctors. That being said some countries have better diagnosis and treatment programs (e.g. France) than others (America and Australia).
The good news is I have highly trained local professionals to help out (one being almost at the end of my street – nice). So for once I don’t need to create several unpaid detailed literature reviews on the topic.
All I will offer is a heads up: If you have had long term pelvic pain you might consider a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist near you. Strictly speaking here in Australia the correct term for the highest qualified specialists are “Specialist Continence & Women’s Health Physiotherapists”. Unfortunately there are only eight countrywide ( I know WTF?). Hence you may want to find a physiotherapist with a ‘specialist interest’ in the pelvic floor. The heads up is; if in doubt, check their training and registration with any appropriate bodies in your state/country and never be afraid to ‘shop’ for your health professionals they way you shop for other things that matter to you and cost a lot.
Although often this is an issue for woman it is not isolated to woman and can be an even more confronting process for men.
My pelvic floor rehabilitation process is therefore one that I am ‘feeling my way through’ rather than researching my way through. My main sources of information and support are my fabulous physio, Lauren and Isa Herrara’s hugely informative book on pelvic pain (shown). You can get it on kindle.
Herrara’s book covers all the anatomy and details, likely causes etc. Importantly, she also covers the importance of mindset and a holistic approach to self care. It really is something of a complete guide, which will be very useful for those that can’t get the kind of support I am have. It is also a good addition to those who can.
Homework no one wants.
The most challenging part of my process so far has been psychological. Do you know how poorly most woman understand their bits and pieces? And there we were going on about men needing to understand better….for obvious reasons ….. which I won’t discuss in public.
I surely ‘got’ how poorly I understood mine when having to work my way through several pages of Herrara’s book with detailed diagrams and the names of about 20 different areas of my nether-regions (or rather when I failed to). Never again shall I cast aspersions on any males lack of understanding of female bits and pieces.
The real confronting bit was realising I really didn’t want to be checking myself out quite this much. It’s just body parts after all and mine – why all the drama?
It was doubly confronting how much less I wanted to go and visit my Physio and have her ‘help’ me through this process (as super as she is – I’d rather meet her for a glass of wine and a laugh than a prod around said nether-regions). This ‘getting to know me’ process was hard enough in my own house with no less than five locks between me and any potential visitors to the front door (no jokes).
It gets worse, before it gets better – as Lauren’s early recommendation was the Therawand for ‘releasing my pelvic floor trigger points’. I went bravely online to purchase said Therawand. There I was ready to push ‘add to cart’, just looking at it triggered pain (look for yourself – my word???). There was a split second, when I nearly ran for the hills, keep the pain I thought. Fortunately for me I pushed through. It really is not as bad as it looks.
A week later I head with my Therawand in my bag to my session with Lauren to learn how to use it. I begin with flapping it around like some prop in a stand up routine as I prattle on. Nothing like a bit of humour to set everyone at ease … I always say. I’m not certain Lauren was so convinced, and she certainly wasn’t laughing.
We start with a wee exam to see how my pelvic floor is ‘feeling’. I am thrilled to discover that some of my activities are paying off. That I am “clearly more comfortable” in the process (let’s face it the only way was up). I was also pleased after grappling with all the complex diagrams in the book to hear that with the Therawand it was OK to just ‘feel my way through’ and that I was not going to be quizzed on the proper names for my bits and bobs.
Feeling my way through
So indeed as instructed I have been ‘feeling my way through it’. I have been pretty disciplined ‘practicing’ most days. I still don’t feel entirely Zen with it and I certainly close all the blinds and double lock the doors.
This process of getting to know my most intimate bits of anatomy and not really wanting to has re-enforced an issue I am having with my body in general; a sort of lack of love at best and something approaching active dislike at worst. It isn’t the sort of lack of love of young woman; filled with the angst or wanting to be ever skinnier and more beautiful.
We have a family joke that my fingers are the only bit of me that seriously never has symptoms. The thing is – it isn’t actually funny and it isn’t actually a joke. I guess I am saying I feel let down by my body. It’s hard to love a body that doesn’t wee or poop or even move right. I feel I am dragging the poor thing through life rather than it supporting me to live a vital life.
This process of getting to know my pelvic floor has opened me up to a little kindness to those many poor struggling organs and nerves contained within my slender belly. See even moving from skinny to slender is a small nudge in the direction of a more body positive me.
Until We Meet Again
So far I have not experienced any really bad flares of the bladder since I started my daily work.The little pain I have had has been managed with this great natural product I got from the ICN. Note I don’t recieve anything for endorsement. I just share if I think it is worth it.
For those of you suffering pelvic pain I have added the resources I have used below.
That is all for now from me, but I would love to hear from you? Don’t leave me feeling alone in this process.
Yours as Ever
Resources / References and Links
You can get a Therawand (and lots more besides) here:
Pelvic Physios in Perth, Western Australia:
http://embodyphysiopilates.com.au (Lauren my current physio)
www.bodylogicphysiotherapy.com.au (Chloe, my previous phsyio also awesome & Dr Judith who trains many of the locals)
Great CD from one of Australias eight top specialists. It guides you through pelvic floor release exercises:
To buy Prosirona for pain relief: www.bestpainrelief.com
For very helpful information on Interstitial Cystitis via the US Interstitial Cystitis Network I recommend the free e-book
For something light hearted – want to know where the term Vajajay came from? Even the woman who designed it doesn’t like it, look here. I choose it as I’m not sure I wanted to come up in certain searches.