The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place, including the uterus, bladder, bowels, cervix, and vagina, as well as help the openings to these organs to function. Pelvic floor issues can be common after childbirth and in menopause. Up to one third of women in the US have pelvic floor dysfunction (a lot of women)! Pelvic floor dysfunction can include pelvic organ prolapse, issues with incontinence or leaking of urine, or loss of bowel control. Symptoms may include:
Risk factors for pelvic floor issues can be older age, pregnancy and childbirth (possibly even if one has a c-section), prior hysterectomy, and radiation treatment.
Chinese medicine has a long history of treating issues relating to women's health including all of the symptoms relating to pelvic floor dysfunction. Acupuncture can help treat urinary issues, pelvic pain, and issues arising in the postpartum period as well as during and after menopause. There are even Chinese herbs that can be used specifically for treating prolapse of the organs. We can help if you're dealing with any of these issues of pelvic floor dysfunction!
Recently I met with Brenda Mater of Sound PT. She has a lot of experience working with women during pregnancy and postpartum to help with issues like pelvic floor dysfunction. Physical therapy can be a good complement to Chinese medicine in that it can help aid in strengthening the pelvic floor, as well as help to resolve muscular imbalances that may be contributing to the problem.
If you're dealing with symptoms of PFD, don't hesitate to seek treatment with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and/or physical therapy.
Dr. Cheryl provides acupuncture in West Seattle and enjoys treating a wide variety of health conditions. She has been in practice for over 9 years, and believes that acupuncture can be gentle and comfortable while still being very effective. She has extensive experience in treating pain, fertility, women's health, and pregnancy.
As someone with chronic back pain myself, I often get relief through acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. However, usually the results only last me around a day or so, then my low grade back pain returns.
Like me, many patients will not get lasting relief without strengthening and lengthening these chronically weak and spasmed muscles. I was happy to get some relief through the Egoscue Pain Free DVD series. The theory behind the Egoscue center and their exercises are to strengthen weak muscles, and lengthen spasmed ones. This gives you good posture and bone alignment, which keeps back pain from returning. The Egoscue method clinic also has a location in San Francisco where they give you an individualized treatment plan.
The DVDs are not “workout” videos but are exercises focused realigning muscles. Making a habit of doing the exercises can help to prevent back, hip, and neck pain from returning. Other methods of realigning the muscles in the body include yoga classes, tai chi, physical therapy, personal training (including weight lifting and stretching). Many people may be surprised to learn that Chinese herbs, when prescribed by a licensed herbalist, can also help to ease chronic back pain.
Cheryl House, L. Ac., DACM, FABORM