It has been nearly sixteen months since I last posted about peeing when I run. See blog post here. So, do I still pee on myself when I run? Yes, unfortunately. However, I’ve learned a lot more about pelvic floor health in these months.
When you are only 32 years old…almost 33, it sucks to get an ailment that you think belongs to those in the 60 and above crowd. You feel like you are too young to feel your uterus, bladder or other parts prolapsing out their normal positions. You envision a lifetime of Depends and having to lay down for fear that everything inside of you will just drop out. Your dreams of running or working out are shattered temporarily while you think that you will never lose that remaining baby weight. But then, hope is restored when you find the right resources. Unfortunately, Dr. Google can be scary, and if you end up on certain websites, you see lawsuits about mesh implant failures that ideally would hold up your internal organs.
So, what have I discovered in the year since I realized that peeing on myself when I ran, jumped, sneezed or coughed too hard was not normal?
Guess what? I’m a butt tucker. I still remember when I was a teenager, standing in the shower looking at my “pooching belly,” trying to make my stomach look flatter. I tucked my tailbone in and my belly appeared flatter. I already had a wider, more curvaceous rear end and as a typical teenager,I was doing everything I could to hide it from my teasing peers. However, butt tucking=weakened pelvic floor. Now, almost twenty years later, I’m dealing with the consequences of a “flatter” stomach.
In my quest to learn about all things related to the pelvic floor, I helped create a Facebook page with another friend that would allow us to discuss pelvic floor health in a positive, hope filled way. I’ve been reading….well devouring Katy Bowman’s book Alignment Matters. I’m amazed and disheartened that much of this could have been prevented with stretching and posture adjustments since birth. I’m inspired to find shoes that are better suited to humans, i.e. no heels. I realize that the physical therapy I’ve done in the past was partially beneficial, but I didn’t understand why I had shooting pains in my knees from tight IT Bands, hamstrings and more than likely a weak pelvic floor. I feel stupid that I didn’t realize how connected everything is in our bodies. One slight adjustment in the feet, translates to either positive or negative benefits in the body.
How am I feeling?
In the year since my third son was born, I’ve had a lot of crying bouts. I’ve felt like my insides were going to fall out. I felt that if I moved the wrong way, or sat on the toilet in the wrong position that I would being seeing my insides come out.
However, other days, I carried a twenty-two pound kid on my back up Chimney Rock in North Carolina.
I went bike riding on a cargo bike, loaded with three children, or my entire load of groceries.
I’ve gotten myself up on a trapeze.
I ran a single 5K without training.
I’ve walked miles with a child strapped to me, I’ve gotten stronger, and work towards improving my posture.
The other night, I experienced hot yoga for the first time and while I could have let my weakened pelvic floor prevent me from staying in the room….yes, weak pelvic floor can cause unexpected noises from your nether regions, I said to myself, I’m here to get stronger. I’m not going to let “embarrassing” noises prevent me from strengthening and stretching the very muscles that will allow me to keep my insides inside.
What have I been doing to improve my pelvic floor?
Correcting my posture. Pelvis in neutral. Foot positioning…or rather realizing that my foot position is incorrect and constantly readjusting the positions. Stretching, stretching and more stretching of my leg muscles, and lots of reading. My favorite resources right now are blogs like Katy Says. I’ve also been trying to incorporate more walking. We like to bike ride in this family. Yet cycling can shorten the hamstring muscles and tight hamstrings can lead to a weakened pelvic floor. So I’ve been adding a daily walk to stretch and strengthen my body. If I can’t get out to walk or ride, I’m doing a Fit2B video. I love Bethany Learn’s easy videos that are geared towards healing a diastasis, and they are great at strengthening the pelvic basket as well. If you need a coupon code, use Alaskan to get a discount on membership. I purchased a Squatty Potty to help get myself into the proper position for easy elimination. A child’s step stool can be used also, but it doesn’t get your legs in quite the right positions.
This past year hasn’t been easy physically or emotionally. Like I stated above, there were a lot of tears and quite a bit of depression related to the pelvic floor issues. I’ve decided I want a lifetime of strength. In my moments of despair, thinking that I will forever be in a state of worry that my bladder or uterus may prolapse outside of my body, I’m thankful I have resources and tools to remedy the current weakness in my pelvic floor.
Do you have a pelvic floor weakness? Will you change your footwear in the pursuit of health? What will you do to help get yourself stronger?
Resources to help you in your strengthening journey.
Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman
Alignment Matters by Katy Bowman
Fit2B with Bethany Learn (Use promo code Alaskan)
“Down There” for Women with Katy Bowman
Hab-It with Tasha Mulligan
Support Group Forums:
Written by: Leigh Anne Hancock – Hypnobabies Instructor in Nashville TN, blogger at State of Birthing and Confessions of a Misplaced Alaskan , retired electrical engineer and mom of 3 boys born at home.