Posts Tagged ‘Physical Therapy’

TCOL – #5 – *Warning for Women Only*

My innards went south or How I learned to love my prolapses!

This is probably the most difficult post I have ever written. I will try to bring some humor to my all too true story.

I was feeling really weird one day. I was feeling like I was walking around with a tennis ball inside my private parts. I have never been that curious of what my intimate lady parts looked like BUT the feeling was persistent enough that I decided to check it out.

On the bed with my mirror in hand and my bedside table light trained on the area in question I checked it out!

OH MY GAWD! I was growing balls or rather one large pink ball that was filling the whole area! Not what I expected or ever wanted to observe. Did I freak out? Yes! Did I immediately call my doctor? NOPE! I hit Google with frantic typing. Looking at images of how my personal domain should look and if I could find any illustrations that looked odd. I did happen to find some that showed a brand new word for me – prolapse. Hmmmm – and there were several options available for things that could be falling out of your body.

At that point I did make an appointment with my doctor. It was a month away. That for me was great. I had found one site that talked about an exercise I could do so I started doing it.

This began the time of my innards playing peek-a-boo. The lovely pink ball disappeared only to reappear. At some times I figured I could probably park a compact car in it. I was not a happy camper. If I did not do my exercises for a day or two – pouf – there it was – totally a nice pink ball filling the space.

Frustrated and afraid I decided to figure out what had gone wrong with my body and why I had developed a hole in my personal universe. I then started to figure out the signs that led up to this event.

It started out with what I chalked up to old age – I would go to the bathroom – pee – get up, wash my hands, go out the door take a few steps and then feel like I needed to go again. And sure enough yes I did . . . maybe a little maybe a lot . . . but I did go. Then there was my Pilates class. I take a private class with a friend and some of the exercises we did for the lower belly I could not feel. I could not feel the muscles contract at all. As hard as I tried to do them I could not feel them or if I finally got my body into a certain position I could those deep muscles but soooo lightly that it took a lot of attention to know that there was indeed a muscle there. The final thing that I noticed was that my low back issues had returned. That is why I went to PT in the first place. My lower spine L4, L5, and S1 tip different directions and that angers my sciatic nerve. Once again I was having hard tight hamstring muscles.

My doctor appointment was interesting. I thought I had some sort of prolapse but after feeling like a hand puppet and trying to squeeze my muscles over and over again so that my doctor could figure out exactly which muscles needed help. I discovered that I could not make any of them work. I had all three of them: Uterine prolapse (prolapse of the uterus), Cystocele (bladder prolapse), and last but not least Rectocele (rectum prolapse).

I had 3 options. I could do PT; get a pessary, or surgery. I am a huge fan of Physical Therapy. It worked great for my back and I chose that as my first option. I have gone to 2 appointments and have one more at the end of the month.

The first appointment was full of information. I discovered that no I did not have a huge hole in my body. What I do have is a basket of interlocking muscles that had weakened and due to that I had gaps between those muscles. How and why did this help? It gave me the information I needed on why I had to keep going to the bathroom right after I had already peed. My bladder is basically a balloon. When it is empty in is like a regular balloon just relaxing in the front of my basket waiting to be filled so that it can fill up and then release its contents and fill again. So with me my balloon was drooping through a gap in my muscles so that it was never getting totally emptied. So we began with the process of going and then leaning front, back, and sides until it was empty.

Then the really big new thing – the exercises – which are simple and easy – there are basically 3 of them. The first one is a Kegel exercise. What I discovered is that I had been doing them wrong! I was squeezing my glutes, which did nothing to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. The movement you want to go for is the feeling of sucking in and up like trying to keep a tampon from falling out. Or being in those awful public situations when you feel that gas bubble ready to escape and you try with all your might to hold it in.

The most important thing I learned was that this would not be a quick fix. That I needed to repeat these exercises 5 times a day. I also was not to overdo them or underdo them. These muscles are really picky. If you overwork them they just refuse to do anything. If you underwork them they also refuse to do anything. I needed to do them through out the day. There was no putting them off to do all at once at night (yes I did try that) and it got me nowhere.

The handy dandy tool was my hand mirror. That let me check (when I felt weird) if anything was playing peek-a-boo. So far I am making progress. My new goals are to get my private parts back where they belong and to stop immediately checking for where the bathrooms are located in a new place.

If you are having issues with leaking or frequent urination you may not need meds. You just may have a pelvic floor that is allowing all or some of your innards to go south. See your doctor and try PT first!

This is the end of week 3 for me and I am showing some signs of this beginning to work.

My final advice is: Learn about your body especially if you are getting older. Beware of picking up kids, grandkids, and gardening. Any position you put your body in where you are squatting and pulling up a child or nasty wild grape vines will result in a force that pushes down and out of your innards. The answer is to prepare your body before and while you do it. Suck those deep muscles in and up and hold them while you are exerting that effort. A few seconds of a deep squeeze can cancel a lot of worry and effort. Me once everything gets back in place I will be very happy to do 2 sets of these very simple exercises everyday for the rest of my life.

A huge thank you to my doctor and my PT people that have been there and have done this and will honestly answer my questions no matter how odd they seem to me! You all are stars!