Ab Slits & Bladder Drops
AKA Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) & Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
Well Angela has done it again! What an informative workshop on DRA & POP. Again I entered into the evening believing one thing only to find out I had NO IDEA! Ladies, we need to understand how our bodies work. Understanding what is going on down there could save you from the intrusion of surgery. More importantly, understanding what can happen will help you navigate our health care system to ensure you are getting the best treatment possible.
Before Thursday nights workshop, I believed both conditions were caused by events. I thought DRA only happened during pregnancy and POP was caused by having a Hysterectomy. Turns out there is more to it than that!
Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA)
DRA is the separation of the Rectus Abdomens creating a gap between the two sides of the rectus abdominis. This condition can affect anyone, including men. Some of us are born with it and other can develop the condition. DRA is correlate with other pelvic dysfunctions – like POP and UI! It’s also related to LOW BACK PAIN. The good news is it can be prevented or minimized with Physiotherapy and in severe cases surgery. Unfortunately the surgery is commonly considered cosmetic, a policy that will hopefully change in good time.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
Occurs when the support structures for the bladder, rectum or uterus are compromised and the pelvic organs bulge into the vaginal canal. I did not pay very close attention during Grade 10 Biology because I had no idea how crowed it is in our pelvis. No wonder our bowels and bladder are heavily effected during PMS and pregnancy. The bladder, uterus and rectum are all sandwiched together in a tight little pocket created by the pelvis and held up by the pelvic floor. Prolapse can be caused by poor posture, bad constipation, tight pelvic floor, weak pelvic floor, stretched out pelvic floor… OMG!! Ya all just need to make an appointment with a Pelvic Physio!
There is hope. Here are some tips:
Don’t be a Slouch
Poor posture can contribute. When you consider how crowed your pelvis is, slouching will only compress everything. Notice when you sit in a chair, most of us to sit upright will pull our shoulders back and focus on the top half of our body. To be in neural, push your bum back in the the base of the back of your chair, then bring your shoulders back. We tried this Tuesday and it actually makes it harder to cross your legs!
Mirror, Mirror on the Floor…
Get to know your vagina. Know what your ‘normal’ looks like. Then when something ‘weird’ happens you have a baseline. Often Angela will have patients visit with an issue, when she asks was that there before? The answer most often is ‘I have no idea!’
Squats aren’t jus for the gym
We were designed to squat when we go to the bathroom. Check out Squatty Potty’s video at: https://www.youtube.com/user/MySquattyPotty . The first time I saw this video I thought it was a joke. It’s real and everyone should have one! Or at least keep a foot stool in the bathroom. The squat position helps the pelvic floor relax and provides a more direct route from bowel to bowl.
Just Breath & Do Pilates
Core breathing, like we do in Pilates class helps engage pelvic floor and stretch the pelvic floor. In a Pilates class we talk about the breath to engage, but there will be a bit of an addition going forward in the studio. The inhale moves the diaphragm up and aids in lengthening or stretching the pelvic floor. Pilates brings your awareness to your core muscles and proper posture. Our goal is to help you find your neutral spine. Strengthen your body to maintain neutral in everyday activities.
To sum things up:
Incontinence, DRA and POP are all common issues that misunderstood and poorly addressed by many healthcare providers. DRA is a functional issue that cane be prevented and managed with functional solutions. It is highly correlated with lower back pain, persistent pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). With POP consider a pessary before surgery and rule out pelvis congestion. If you think you have a problem visit a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and help us spread the word.