I’ve previously written about how amazing pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) was for me. It helped alleviate my chronic low back pain and helped me with bladder control. I wanted to talk with my therapist to hear more about pelvic floor physical health and how women can help themselves. Dr. Sarah Griffith is a physical therapist, mama of youngsters, and more.
Getting Started in Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Dr. Griffith has been a physical therapist for 9 years in outpatient orthopedic and sports, but switched to pelvic floor PT 3 years ago. Initially, she wasn’t interested in the specialty, but said, “God has a funny way of pushing us into things we tell Him we aren’t going to do.” Dr. Griffith went on to explain that she was motivated to learn more about the pelvic floor when she realized that she was treating all other surrounding areas on her patients, but not this critical part of the anatomy.
Pelvic Floor Health
When asked about common misconceptions regarding pelvic floor health, Dr. Griffith explained,
“It is normal to leak with cough, laugh, sneeze, jump, or after having a baby. IT IS NOT NORMAL! Also, sex should never be painful. Just because your mom, grandma, aunt, or best friend have had these symptoms, it is not normal. For too long, I think women and their symptoms were dismissed and racked up to “well you just had a baby” or “it’s just part of being a woman.”
As a result, by the time I see patients, a lot of times they have been having symptoms for 5, 10, 20+ years and have just been dealing with it thinking it was normal or “not a big enough problem.” When they get to me, they are often desperate for an answer and help. Speak up early so you can get the help you need before your symptoms worsen.” I know for myself I felt that my weakened bladder muscles were just the price my body paid for being able to carry and birth two babies. I’m glad I was able to get help when I did instead of waiting for years on end.
Tips for Helping Yourself
Sarah went on to say how important it is to prioritize self-care. Not just the kind where you treat yourself to a new purse or a manicure, but the kind where you listen to your body and advocate for yourself and your health. The top three tips Dr. Griffith wanted to share to help your pelvic floor health were:
- Drink the proper amount of fluids; about half your body weight in ounces with the majority of that being water. If you’re exercising/ sweating a lot you may want to increase your fluids.
- Peeing; your body should be relaxed when you pee. You shouldn’t need to push it out.
- Bowel Movements; use a step stool to get your knees above your hips, take a few deep breaths, and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Toddler mamas, just use the step stool your kiddo uses to help get the proper position!
She went on to emphasize that some women actually need to learn how to relax their pelvic floor before learning to strengthen it. Having high muscle tone in the pelvic floor can cause urinary urgency, painful sex, and pelvic cramping/low back pain. So it’s important to learn the root cause of your problems instead of just jumping into the pelvic floor training video you saw on Tik Tok.
Learning More About Sarah’s Home Life
I asked Sarah what she loves about her job and she went on to say that she loves the bond she develops with her patients because she gets to see them for 6-10 hours. She can also relate to many of her patients who are young moms too. She loves helping women feel better so that they can help care for the people who need them. Her favorite part of being a mom is learning what it means to love someone else unconditionally, even when not in control. As a boy mom to a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, she’s constantly on the move. She says, “Being a mom is the most rewarding, hardest job in the world, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s my real job and purpose that drives me to help others.”
By interviewing Dr. Griffith I’ve learned more about her motivations for helping other women, her love of God and her children, and other ways to help me physically be the best mom I can be for my littles. A big thank you to Sarah for taking the time to answer all of my questions and to all of those working in healthcare who are trying to help others!