Managing pelvic floor symptoms this holiday!

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!!

Let's chat briefly about the pelvic floor!

As someone that has struggled with ALL of the pelvic floor issues, hypertonic pelvic floor (TOO tight), pelvic organ prolapse (cystocoel), and a lax, unresponsive pelvic floor/stress incontinence, I know that it can be a struggle to manage when we are:

1. Out of our element/routine
2. Traveling long distances
3. Stressed or anxious
4. Experiencing irregular digestion
5. Not taking time for daily movement practices that release stress, tension and promote balance in the body.



So here are a few tips for you depending on WHICH form of pelvic floor dysfunction you struggle with!

Note! I am not a PT and this is NOT a comprehensive list of strategies or suggestions.
Ask your PT about what exercises are best for you, based on YOUR diagnosis!!!


Hypertonic Pelvic Floor



Take time in your day to release and relax your pelvic floor.

1. Spend 5 minutes breathing diaphragmatically,REALLY focusing on relaxing the PF on the INHALE!! Keep checking throughout the day that your tongue is resting on the roof of your mouth.
Go and check out my YouTube video on it below!


Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 8.56.58 AM.png



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOKWSJdA5Jg&t=2s



2. Use Original Strength Resets to release tension in the low back, hips, chest and neck-this really helps us to STOP holding tension in the PF!
https://vimeo.com/299512712


I also like these lying down twists!
And these hip glides! 



3. Routinely check your rib and pelvic position! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhU1kWz9a80&t=259s
Is it neutral? IS your butt behind you or tucked under you is? Is your low back arched and your ribs flared? What about your weight is it in your heels or your toes? Push the hips back! 


4. If you're traveling in the car this holiday, do your best to take breaks to stand, walk, stretch, release, etc. and use a towel, jacket, yoga mat or book to neutralize your pelvic position and support your back! Keep your toes strength in front of you, not open to the side like a duck.



Pelvic Organ Prolapse



I don't know where you are in your prolapse rehab process, but I want to just remind you that you MIGHT experience more symptoms due to stress and anxiety or tension in the body. 
Don't forget that both ovulation and menstruation ca
also make you feel more symptomatic!

Your prolapse symptoms can also increase dues to HOW you position your body, how you breath, how tired and under-nourished you are. 

So be mindful of the following:

1. Pelvic position and alignment
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhU1kWz9a80&t=259s
Is it neutral? IS your butt behind you or tucked under you is? Is your low back arched and your ribs flared? What about your weight is it in your heels or your toes? Push the hips back! 

2. Tension or stress in the body. BREATH and let go  of that sh*t as best you can!
Spend 5-10 minutes breathing diaphragmatically,REALLY focusing on LIFTING and activating the PF on the EXHALE! Checkthroughout the day that your tongue is resting on the roof of your mouth.
Go and check out my YouTube video series on it below!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOKWSJdA5Jg&t=2s


3.  If you're experiencing more symptoms and NOTHING is helping and you just need to take your mind off of things, if you have access to a sponge, menstrual cup, or pessary, there's nothing wrong with giving yourself a little added support to take your mind off of your symptoms!

Pop one of those suckers in!

Poise also makes a disposable-like "pessary contraption". I don't love them, but they are fine for added support in a pinch.
You can also manually push your organ back into place if it's feeling heavy, just be sure to clean your hands THOROUGHLY before doing so!

Anything you can do to help yourself deal with the anxiety of the moment and think, "Just because I feel symptoms today, that doesn't meant that I ALWAYS will," is HELPFUL!



4. Avoid consuming TOO many grains, too little water or insufficient fiber to stay regular. Constipation can make ALL forms of prolapse feel worse and more uncomfortable! 
I have written a LOT about this topic on my blog. Head to my website to read this article and use the sera tab to find MORE!

http://sarahsmithstrength.com/new-blog/2018/5/26/pottyhabitspelvicfloor?rq=constipation


5. Nourish your body with sleep, quiet moments, red raspberry leaf tea (historically believed to nourish our female center) as best you can and remind yourself that your prolapse doesn't DEFINE you. It's most likely the undesirable result of you LIVING LIFE!
We are human, we are NOT infallible. Bad things happen to us. We can always choose to have hope and grow past them.




Incontinence



1. If you struggle with leaking, take some time to do your assigned PT work! Don't skip your exercises just because you are busy with holiday prep!
Set a timer and devote some space to your glute bridges, kegels, bird dogs, whatever your PT has you doing to help you strengthen your pelvic floor recruitment in coordination with movement!

Don't forget to practice your breathing and pelvic floor recruitment that is COORDINATED with your breath!!

Spend 5-10 minutes breathing diaphragmatically,REALLY focusing on LIFTING and activating the PF on the EXHALE! Checkthroughout the day that your tongue is resting on the roof of your mouth.
Go and check out my YouTube video series on it below!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOKWSJdA5Jg&t=2s

2. Check your pelvic and rib position as often as you can!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhU1kWz9a80&t=259s
Is it neutral? IS your butt behind you or tucked under you is? Is your low back arched and your ribs flared? What about your weight is it in your heels or your toes? Push the hips back! 
For coughing, sneezing, walking, you DEFINITELY want to get in that neutral position as often as possible and engage  the pelvic floor one the exhale to support you as needed!




3. If wearing a pad makes life less stressful for you today, then do it!


Is it a longterm solution to leaking?
No. 
Is leaking a sign of whole body weakness that needs to be addressed in order for you to have a resilient body and improved quality of life? 
Yes. 
Is it a problem with a solution?
Absolutely. 
But today is NOT the day to stress about it 
Do ALL the above mentioned things and any of the hypertonic or prolapse recommendations that apply to you, but again, STRESS, worry, anxiety, these things will do NOTHING for your mindset today. 
So having a backup plan is cool as long as you promise me that you WON'T give up on your body. 
You will fight to heal and restore it's ability to eliminate and NOT eliminate as needed!








Most importantly, if your pelvic floor tightness, pelvic organ prolapse symptoms or incontinenace are tied to STRESS and ANXIETY, once you begin to feel your symptoms increasing, DON'T FREAK OUT!!!

Take a few minutes to yourself to go out for slow paced, leisure walk (check your ribs and pelvic position! before you start!), or breath and move by yourself for a few moments. 
For prolapse, I found that relaxing my belly towards the floor in a table position while breathing diaphragmatically was helpful too!


I know it can be frustrating when you have to do EXTRA things just to feel normal like everyone else, but there are MYRIAD reasons why your body is asking for extra attention in this context, so just give it what it needs. 
Breath.
Accept that this is a challenge for you RIGHT NOW and it's not necessarily forever. 
Be present in your body. 
Consciously use your breath to relax every bit of your body all the way down to your toes!!




You've got this!!
I believe in you. 
I belive in your body's ability to heal and restore itself to the best that it can be right now and in the future!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I am grateful for you!

xoxo,

Sarah Smith


FOLLOW ME ON Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/sarahsmithstrength ) TO see what I'm making this Thanksgiving and to watch snippets of my bodyweight and band-based workouts!!!!







xoxo, 

Sarah Smith