Pelvic Health for Life
The pelvis is the foundation of the woman, the center of her femininity and being. It affects her health and well-being. This anatomical center of the body supports the reproductive organs and connects with her entire being. Pelvic tissues endure a great deal of daily “wear and tear” plus effects of monthly menstrual cycles, pregnancies and deliveries. Hormonal fluctuations change the tissue quality and impact the whole body. Even walking pulls muscles connected to the low back and pelvis. The pelvis and abdomen are also the “emotional heart” of the woman and can store stress and tension, affecting tissue quality and health. Trauma of all types can be stored in the pelvis, especially sexual abuse and PTSD. Severe PMS or menstrual periods, bladder issues, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, sexual problems or general pelvic pain can often be effectively treated with expert holistic women’s health bodywork.
Pelvic pain and dysfunction may also be related to other areas of the body. For example, headaches, jaw pain and abdominal problems can be connected to pelvic issues. As the female reproductive center and involvement with sexual experiences, emotional and physical health is involved. Unfortunately, many women sustain negative sexual experiences that can cause pain, numbness and decreased libido in this area. Effective healthcare for the woman should include holistic bodywork that assesses and treats pelvic health and the connection with the whole woman.
Bladder Frequency and Leakage (Incontinence) are common in women. Even young women in Western societies can have bladder frequency and leakage. Years and decades of stressful life and menstrual cycles contribute to this problem by restricting pelvic tissue and further weakening these muscles . Pregnancy and childbirth can be traumatic to pelvic muscle tone and restricting tissue around the bladder and reproductive organs. Bladder frequency and leakage are usually affected by both weak pelvic muscles and restricted tissue inside the pelvis. Bladder dysfunction usually responds effectively to specialized pelvic floor therapy. Often the restricted pelvic tissue must be treated before the muscles respond to strengthening exercises, such as Kegels.
“Overactive bladder” (OAB) is a term describing a sudden urge to urinate. The sensation may be difficult to control, leading to an involuntary loss of urine (incontinence). This problem can impact your social and professional life but is certainly treatable. Behavioral strategies often help this condition (fluid schedules, timed voiding and bladder-holding techniques.) Medical evaluation is recommended if the behavioral methods are not successful. Holistic therapy will also focus on pelvic floor muscle tone and training as well as tissue restrictions within the pelvic floor.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) describes a bladder problem of urinary leakage urine while sneezing, laughing or doing other physical activities. Holistic therapy can be very effective and will assess and treat pelvic muscle tone and the presence of tissue restrictions in the pelvic floor. Pelvic muscle exercises are more effective when the tissue restrictions are resolved with Myofascial release.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) may have symptoms of a bladder infection but do not respond to antibiotic therapy. Symptoms may urinary urgency, frequency, leakage, or pain with urination. Pelvic pain or intercourse pain may also be involved. Western doctors may also do a cystoscopy to look for blood in the bladder or signs of inflammation. Restricted tissue around the bladder and the urethra can cause these symptoms and respond very well to myofascial release, often eliminating the symptoms. Effective women’s health therapy involves assessment and treatment of the tissue around the bladder and urethra, as well as the pelvic floor. This holistic approach is often very effective.
Bladder Prolapse is when the bladder falls into the pelvic floor and there may be urinary frequency, leakage (incontinence) or a feeling of pressure. Weakened supporting structures and muscles may be involved with prolapse, but may also be a result of restricted pelvic tissue pulling the bladder down. Holistic treatment should be considered prior to surgical correction. Myofascial release with pelvic floor therapy is often very effective in restoring bladder function without surgery.
Endometriosis is characterized by pelvic and abdominal pain, especially before or after menstrual periods caused by growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Endometriosis may also contribute to pain with sex, bladder problems, intestinal complications, infertility and fatigue.Medical doctors often treat with hormone therapy and surgery. Holistic therapy will focus on treating stress within the abdomen and pelvis that may be causing or contributing to the pain and dysfunction. Advanced myofascial release, lymphatic drainage therapy and somatoemotional techniques can be very effective in assisting the body to resolve the problem.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain in women may be related to a back injury or restricted muscles in the buttocks. An acute injury of the lumbar area can be very painful but rest and anti-inflammatory treatment may be enough to relieve muscle spasms and restore function. It is more common for women to have low back pain caused by tight muscles in buttocks, pulling into the pelvis and low back causing pain in the back, buttocks or leg, often confused as “sciatica,” a sacroiliac (SI) or lumbar problem.
Acute Lumbar Injury. The low back can be injured from trauma, twisting or heavy lifting. First aid for acute low back pain is rest and ice. Lying on your back with your knees elevated usually feels and allows lumbar muscle spasms to relax. Medical treatment should be obtained if you are not able to continue with your normal daily activities. Massage and holistic bodywork can assist the muscles to relax and treat other muscles that may be involved.
Sciatica. True sciatica is pain and/or numbness down the hip and leg caused by lumbar nerve impingement in the low back. Most women with these symptoms actually have tight muscles in buttocks that are much more easily treated than sciatica. Piriformis syndrome is when the external rotator muscle(s) in the buttocks pinch the sciatic nerve and create pain and numbness in the low back, buttocks and/or leg, most commonly with women. There are many bodywork techniques that can release restricted muscles creating this very painful condition.
Piriformis Syndrome (Sciatic-Like Symptoms). A common cause of low back pain and sciatic-like symptoms in women is gluteal muscle tightness. These restricted muscles pull into the low back/pelvis and can pinch the sciatic nerve in the buttocks causing the pain and/or numbness. Even though the pain is felt in the lumbar, sacral or sacroiliac area the source may be tight rotator muscles in the gluts. Sustained stretches of the hips can reduce the pain and numbness. Myofascial release and specialized sports massage therapy can release these muscles, balance the sacrum and pelvis, and relieve the pain and numbness.
Menstrual Pain or cramping during the first or second day of the menstrual cycle (dysmenorrhea) is caused by contractions of the uterus as it expels unnecessary blood or tissue through the cervix. Abdominal and pelvic cramps may also be accompanied by back pain, diarrhea or nausea. If the discomfort prevents you from doing normal daily activities, medical advice should be obtained. There are many physical, emotional and hormonal factors that can make menstrual pain more painful, irregular and have increased bleeding. Revive Therapy specializes compassionate and holistic therapy to bring balance to the woman and her menstrual periods. Myofascial release, pelvic floor therapy and other specialized therapy may be very effective to maintain a comfortable, calm and balanced life.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) refers to physical and emotional symptoms that occur prior to the menstrual period. Symptoms may include irritability, mood swings, fatigue, breast tenderness, acne or bloating. These symptoms are provoked by hormone changes and may be worsened by caffeine, alcohol or a high-salt diet. PMS is more severe with some women and affect normal daily activities. Western medicine offers medication for symptoms but a holistic approach can address physical and emotional restrictions. Myofascial release, lymphatic drainage therapy and Craniosacral therapy can assist with body and life balance to make premenstrual symptoms much more manageable.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS with more intense emotional and psychological symptoms. PMDD is cyclical, occurring during the luteal phase of menstruation (after ovulation) and can cause severe depression. Physical symptoms may include abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, general body aches and acne. Emotional symptoms may include depression, mood swings, anxiety, feelings of loss of control, difficulty to focus and fatigue. Western medicine treatment often involves antidepressant and ovulation suppressant medication. Holistic women’s health bodywork will focus on a broader scope of physical and emotional restrictions affecting the whole body to promote greater body balance and restoration of natural regulatory functions.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) describes problems with menstrual regularity, fertility, cardiac function and appearance associated with female hormone imbalance and cysts on the ovaries. Depression, menstrual pain and weight gain are common with PCOS. Early treatment is highly recommended because of the connection of diabetes and heart disease with progressive PCOS. Holistic bodywork offers women with PCOS hope by assisting with hormonal balance, reproductive health and treatment of systemic issues. Myofascial release brings body balance through liberation of restricted tension and facilitating natural equilibrium of body, mind and emotions.
Pelvic Pain, Chronic
Chronic pelvic pain is discomfort below the belly button and between the hips that lasts six months or longer. Because pelvic pain may be caused by another problem and the connection with all body systems, it is important to consider the entire body for resolution of the pain. With the pelvis being the foundation of the woman, it is not surprising that chronic pelvic symptoms can affect quality of life. Pelvic pain may be dull or sharp, steady or intermittent, dull aching, or pressure (heaviness.) In addition, pain may be experienced with sexual intercourse, having a bowel movement or sitting for prolong periods of time. Chronic pain should be assessed by your medical provider. Holistic women’s health bodywork will assess and treat global emotional and physical restrictions that may be causing or contributing to your pelvic condition. A pelvic therapist will also be able to assess and treat restrictions within the pelvis that may be very important for effective resolution of your chronic pelvic pain.
Sexual Intercourse Issues
Sexual pain is very common and can usually be treated with medical and/or holistic therapy. Sexual issues can impact health and quality of life but are difficult for some women to address. Sexual abuse, assault, trauma and even sexual beliefs can impair healthy, normal and pleasurable sexual relations. The abdomen and pelvis can store emotional stress and tension, affecting tissue quality and health, thus creating pain and dysfunction in the abdomen, pelvis and reproductive area. Many women suffer secretly with sexual pain and dysfunction and find hope for sexual health and healing. More…
Menstrual Cycles. The uterus is the central organ for reproduction and impacts the entire female body, physically and emotionally. The uterus has an amazing cycle of preparing for conception and then returning to its basic state. Menstrual cramping during the period is actually mini-labor as the uterus muscles contract the organ, removing the unnecessary blood and tissue to return to its normal size and wait for the next cycle. Hormones fluctuate during the cycle impacting the entire woman’s body and emotions. Menstrual discomfort and bleeding should be manageable and not prevent women from their normal, active and healthy life. When something in the woman’s body is not in balance, the uterus and menstrual cycle can be affected. Holistic bodywork for women will assist her to stay in balance throughout her menstrual cycle. The physical and emotional impact of the cycle is a reflection of body balance and a holistic practitioner will assist with health and healing so that menstrual cycles and periods do not disrupt her life. (See paragraphs above on Menstrual Issues: Menstrual Pain, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
Uterine Prolapse of the uterus occurs when the muscles and ligaments can no longer support the uterus and it sags into the vagina or birth canal. There may be a feeling of pressure or vaginal fullness. Some women can feel the uterus in the vagina with bearing down. Holistic treatment should be considered prior to surgical correction. Myofascial release with pelvic floor therapy can be effective in restoring uterus position without surgery.
Pelvic Therapy for Health
Holistic pelvic therapy focuses on the whole body due to the integration and interconnectedness of all systems, including the body, mind and spirit. With the “emotional heart” of the woman often in the pelvis, awareness and treatment of stored emotions is essential to effective healing.