Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pelvic Floor Taboo


I've had an issue on my mind of late. It sort of came up in Yoga, passively, as the instructor tends to incorporate poses which work the pelvic floor muscles. Yes. You're right. The pelvic floor muscles are located between the legs, in the same area as reproductive organs. Which may be why they seem to be taboo to talk about, but I'm not buying it. She mentioned that she had a friend who was very fit, worked her core, etc. but ended up with pelvic prolapse because she worked everything but those muscles.

Pelvic floor disorders are mostly associated with giving birth, and you hear a little bit about working your kegels etc., but health care providers talk very little about how to perform that exercise, nor do they discuss with their patients, that while it can be done discreetly, it can also be stimulating, which is embarrassing for some people. It's looked upon as a kink in general. One only has to Google pelvic floor and kegel exercises, to stumble across any number of devices for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, with one of the big selling points touted as improved orgasms, and many products providing "discreet stimulation."

There is some mention of treating incontinence relating to childbirth but very little. So I looked to the Cleveland and Mayo clinics to see what the medical field recommends. Not that I'm not a little intrigued by a sexual kink. I'm as curious as the next person about having a little fun. But, mostly I'm edging closer to 40, and I have had three children. In addition, I work a sedentary job, and I take an anti-depressant which sometimes seems to have the effect of interfering with body awareness, particularly in intimate areas. I guess what I'm saying is, that while I enjoy having sex, it's not really at the top of my priority list these days.

As I read, I found many mentions of "trauma" to the pelvic region being a culprit for various pelvic floor dysfunctions. I also found that the severity of dysfunction can range from things such as embarrassing incontinence, clear up to something as serious as prolapse which can only be treated through surgery, and the techniques utilized have caused many women problems, particularly with trans-vaginal mesh implants. But, in order to treat and improve things before reaching a severe state, women can do pelvic floor exercises to help avert prolapse, and improve the milder and more embarrassing symptoms of a pelvic floor dysfunction.

My question, as women, why the fuck don't we talk about this?! Is this a new thing? Did we just now discover that these muscles need to be exercised to be kept strong enough to hold our organs in, and allow the internal organs to function normally?

My doctors didn't really talk to me about it after I had children. They told me it was important to do kegel exercises, but never said why. So it was taken in the same context as any other physician that told me I need to exercise. Yeah! Yeah! I know. I'm over-weight and I need to be more active. My heart, blood-pressure, and respiration are fine. So whatever. I've not heard anything on this subject from my mom, or friends. The importance of pelvic floor strength is  pretty much all news to me. I believed the incontinence I deal with was just simply a side effect of giving birth three times, and always thought I just needed to put up and shut up. It turns out, that may not necessarily be the case.

And of course the word "trauma" caught my attention. As they talked about physical trauma to the muscles such as a car accident, childbirth, and/or episiotomies. Well, what about sexual assault, particularly at an early age? Why yes, there is a strong correlation between childhood sexual abuse, other types of sexual assault, and pelvic floor dysfunction. It makes me angry all over again. Why is no one talking about this? We always focus on the mental health issues surrounding sexual assault, but we act like the body comes through the trauma unscathed, and able to heal, to go back to normal. But it doesn't necessarily. Why aren't legislators talking about the long-term physical health impacts, in addition to the mental health portion? Why are we still putting the victim on trial, and telling them they deserve to be left hurting, because of the way they dressed, or what activity they were engaged in?

Oh, and to top it off, it sounds like pelvic floor strength is almost as important to men, as it is to women. Women of course are focused on because of the additional internal reproductive factor, but men run a risk of gastrointestinal issues, with embarrassing side effects, also up to the severity of prolapse. Why is everyone so quiet about this subject?

This is not a kink. This is not about sex (necessarily, though as with any other health issue, it can impact sexual health.) This is not about being lewd, or intentionally vulgar. This is a health issue. Why are we not talking about this?

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