Equilibria
Leave this field empty
Page 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14  

Pelvic Floor-Safe Exercise - The Ten Most Non-Boring Options!

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 2:08:01 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

We hear it over and over again: exercise that's safe for your pelvic floor is walking, cycling, and swimming.

And actually, cycling here probably means boring, easy cycling on flat (as we know that standing cycling puts enormous pressures on the pelvic floor). Or stationary cycling. Stationary cycling so predictable and unchanging that you could do it in your sleep (or that it puts you to sleep). Stationary cycling that may as well be stationary.

(Of course, I am exaggerating. Stationary cycling CAN be made challenging and interesting. But if you find it so, this post is not for you.)

So without a stationary bike, or in the absence of living on top of a plateau or a vast, unchanging plain, we are down to walking and swimming being our options for pelvic floor - safe exercise.

Boring!

Now, perhaps you love walking. Perhaps you find it stimulating and regenerating, and it fulfills both your physical and mental health requirements of exercise. But if that is the case, you will probably not be reading this blog post (or will stop reading it at this point).

So let's think laterally. What are some other options...

...for exercise that is a safer option for your pelvic floor, whether you have (or are at risk for) incontinence or prolapse? And/or, you have ever had a baby or been pregnant and actually want to exercise again? And (rather more self-indulgently) what is my favorite option?

Let's look at the requirements for pelvic floor safe exercise.

We are looking for

Low impact.

No excessively high intra-abdominal pressures generated.

This generally translates into no jumping, no running, no heavy weights, no sit-ups or crunches, and no uncontrolled/unexpected movements.

Sadly, this seems to rule out all forms of running, jogging, racing and fun-runs, virtually all team sports, most gym classes, most standard personal training sessions, boxing, and most styles of dancing, whether Latin, ballroom, modern, ballet or just leaping around the room to your favorite opera or hard rock album.

I would like to interject in my own blog post here. (That is one of the major benefits of blogging - that no one can stop you interjecting). I am not saying that all of these restrictions apply at all times for all women at risk of pelvic floor problems.

In fact, despite the excellent intentions and professional expertise behind these standard pelvic floor safe exercise recommendations, I believe that the best action any woman can take is to have an individualised assessement of her exercise "risk" via a pelvic floor examination with an experienced pelvic floor physiotherapist that offers this expertise.

(Ask your pelvic floor physiotherapist how specific they can be about your exercise risks upon having an assessment, and keep searching until you find one who will offer you more than the general recommendations). Individualised pelvic floor assessments have evolved in the last few years with pelvic floor physiotherapists undergoing further research-based training to give you much more individualised exercise advice than ever before. How, you ask? Ve have vays, my friend, ve have vays!

But until you have had an individual assessment, your safest non-walking, non-swimming options which are possibly the least boring, include:

Tai Chi.

Yoga.

Belly dancing.

Rock climbing.

Pole Fitness.

Scootering.

Skateboarding.

Surfing.

Rollerskating.

Rollerblading (i.e. inline skating).

Please don't take this list absolutely at face value. All return to exercise - and, especially, starting a new exercise regime - should ideally be advised upon by your pelvic floor physiotherapist and based on individualised assessment, that is, assessment of YOU.

More about these fantastic options for your new exercise life in a future blog post.

And I plan to play favourites here. The final option - rollerblading - being my favourite option, will have its own blog post devoted to it.

Prepare to kiss boring exercise goodbye!

Any other suggestions for fun pelvic floor-safe exercise? Let's have a conversation about it!

Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter and get loads more useful info!

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help A Tampon Go In Step 3

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 7:42:05 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Contract and RELAX Your Pelvic Floor

OK, you're getting there! You've had a good look with a mirror and you're starting to get to know the landscape down there. You're confident you've chosen the right position to insert the tampon.

But for some reason, when you try to put it in, it just feels like there's a wall there.

Like there's nowhere to go.

I can't tell you how many women have told me that "nothing will go in there". They start to doubt they even have the right anatomy. When they try to insert a tampon (or have sex) they feel a blockage or obstruction, like there's something in the way.

I've got great news for you. There is nothing in the way.

It just feels like there is because the walls of the vaginal opening collapse together at rest.

The walls of the vagina are basically made of muscle. This is called the pelvic floor muscle. These muscles make the walls firm but elastic. These muscles help "keep the door closed" to keep out unwanted visitors. They are like the Guardians of the Gate.

It's their job to decide if the visitor is a friend or foe. If the muscles realise the visitor is friendly, they relax. They make space. They allow an opening - but it's a bit like a secret opening.

A secret entrance.

secretentrance

Can you feel how to "close" the vagina?

Some people say it's like winking or blinking, if the vagina was an eye. Others say it's like squeezing and lifting the vagina from the inside. If you don't mind getting graphic, it's like slowing down and stopping the flow of urine, or tightening around the anus ("bum-hole") as though trying not to pass wind.

I like to think of the muscles of the vagina like the roof of an exotic circus tent.

It's made of a velvety, silky, flowy material. This material hangs from the ceiling and billows up and down as it's lifted and lowered. See if you can "lift your circus tent". This closes the vagina. Then lower or drop your circus tent. This allows an opening. Remember, it isn't a big wide open door, advertising to everyone that it's open. It's a secret opening, designed for entry by members of the "inner sanctum" only.

circustent

Using the position you decided on earlier (and the mirror if you need to refresh your memory), hold the tampon at the entrance to the vagina. Try lifting and lowering your circus tent (or any of the cues above). If you have the mirror, you may get an idea of the secret entrance opening.

When you lower the circus tent, let the opening envelop the top part of the tampon.

See if you can feel that there is a little bit of "give" - the secret entrance is opening and there is "somewhere to go". The tampon doesn't have to slide in first go. You just don't want it to be pushed away.

If this doesn't work for you, here's another idea. Keep the tampon in the same position.

Try gently bearing down, like you're laying an egg.

(This "laying an egg" analogy I owe to the wonderful American pelvic floor physical therapist Ramona Horton).

As you "lay the egg" the secret entrance opens. You may not see it - but you will feel that little bit of "give". Do this as many times as you need to feel that the tampon is being enveloped further into the vagina.

Experiment! Don't worry if it doesn't work first time.

What tips have you found best for relaxing your pelvic floor muscles?

Go to the 4th blog post in this series.

Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter and get loads more useful info!

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter
Tags:

Best Ways to Help A Tampon Go In Step 2

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 2:09:42 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Use the Information on the Packet (But Don't Take It Too Seriously)

You've had trouble inserting tampons. You didn't really know where you were going. Like the excellent TV ad, you didn't know if you were going for the "wrong hole". But now you've had a look. You used a mirror, you maybe looked at a diagram, and you think you're getting to know the territory.

tampon

So again, I'm going to mention something obvious, but important. Have a look at the tampon packet. Read the instructions carefully.

And while we're talking about the tampon packet, choose the smallest tampons you can. Even if you have a menstrual flow like a tropical tsunami, choose the mini tampons while you are still a rookie.

Applicator or no applicator? This is very much a matter of personal preference. I know a lot of women who have found the ones with the applicator easier to learn with. If you have any reluctance to put your finger in your vagina, the applicator tampons can be a great one to start with. However, a later goal (for a lot of reasons) would be for you to feel comfortable putting your finger in your vagina - more about that in a later post.

tamponwithapplicator

The applicator is nice and smooth. It also takes the guesswork out of how far to put the tampon in. Overall, I would probably recommend starting with applicator tampons.

So, back to the packet. Every packet of tampons will contain instructions. There is important  safety information on it about toxic shock syndrome. Please, don't get too caught up in this. While it is important for it to be there for legal reasons - and important to go by the guidelines recommended - it's important not to get freaked out. This is a bit like not going ahead with minor surgery due to the long list of rare and serious complications that they, by law, need to read out to you. Tampons are very safe and will not harm you when used as recommended.

The instructions will give you a number of options for position to be in when inserting the tampon.

For a beginner, there are two positions I would recommend.

One is lying down in front of a mirror with your head fully supported on pillows, so your abs are not working. (Working your abs, like with "sit ups", can make it harder for the tampon to go in.) This position is great, because you can see where the tampon is going, and use other body cues to help it on its miniature journey (more about this in future blog posts).

The second is standing up with one foot up and rested, say on the bath (or toilet lid). This is great because it separates your legs that little bit, and changes the angle of your vagina by tucking your pelvis under a little bit.

Don't worry too much about the diagrams on the packet. It can be really hard to picture what's going on inside. Sometimes too much talk of angles and directions makes inserting a tampon a bit too much like a bad memory of Maths class.

So in summary:

  1. Choose a mini applicator tampon.
  2. Don't re-read the warnings on the packet until you're a nervous wreck.
  3. Pick one of two helpful positions - reclined (lying down with head raised) or standing with one foot up on the bathtub.

In these positions, you can more easily work out what your vaginal muscles are doing and how to get them as relaxed and easy-going as possible - the topic of the next blog post in this series.

Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter and get loads more useful info!

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter
Tags: tampons,

Getting Off The Pill Step 4

Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 5:47:58 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Prepare by taking your nutrition and your health in hand

Are you scared to take the plunge and get off the Pill?

There is no need to be! In this post I'll talk about covering your bases to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Hopefully be now you have followed the first three steps in getting off the Pill.

Step 1 – understanding how the Pill works (and its relatives the Mirena, Depo Provera and Implanon)

Step 2 – being aware of the side effects of the Pill (and its relatives)

Step 3 – considering the different alternatives available

And now it’s time for the fourth step – setting some good habits in place to minimise the chance of side effects of coming off the Pill.

So what kind of side effects of coming off the Pill are we talking about?

There are two types of side effects when coming off the Pill.

Problems that were already there before, which are masked by the Pill

First of all, anything that was there before you went on the Pill in the first place: acne, irregular periods, painful periods. My recommendation here is to see a good naturopath, integrative nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner. They can help solve the puzzle of why you had these issues in the first place, and help bring your system back into balance.

For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormone disorder in younger women. The main symptom is irregular or infrequent periods. If this is why you went on the Pill fifteen years ago as a teenager, then there is a good chance you have this, and it should be investigated. PCOS will also make acne more likely and more severe. When I see women who have known PCOS and are deciding to come off the Pill, we put into place an action plan for their hormones before they even stop it, which includes stress management, exercise, dietary changes and nutrient supplementation. Once they come off the Pill, I add herbs to help regulate their hormones.

And then there is the problem of painful periods (dysmenorrhea). The great news is that herbal medicine can be very helpful for period pain. So can a gentle form of abdominal massage called visceral mobilisation. Additionally, nutrients are important. Supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids and zinc are just two things I use to improve period pain. I often use a combination of these techniques with women coming off the Pill to lower the chance of their returning periods being painful.

New problems, caused, promoted or triggered by the Pill

The main one we’ll talk about here is  the fertility issue. Let’s say you’re coming off the Pill because you want to fall pregnant. It is important you don’t try to fall pregnant immediately when coming off the Pill. There are a few reasons for this.

Nutrient depletion

The Pill depletes a number of nutrients from the body including zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 (and more). Even more critically, it depletes folate, and it’s essential that you have good folate levels for at least 3 months before you fall pregnant, as folate is essential in the cell division processes that will ultimately lead to a healthy baby.

Hormonal imbalance

It often takes several months for the hormones to balance out after the Pill. While a 2014 study showed that a quarter to a half of women ovulated within three weeks after stopping the Pill, the rest of them didn’t!

But fertility is more than a return of bleeding, hormone balance and even ovulation. You can have all three of these back but still not be fertile if your cervix is not producing the right kind of mucus to help the sperm survive. A 2011 study compared women who had just stopped the Pill with women who had not been on it for a year. It showed that quality of mucus produced by the cervix was indeed compromised in women who had come off the Pill. Getting to recognise and interpret your mucus patterns is probably the most important aspect of understanding your fertility.

If you have chosen the Billings Ovulation Method as your new method of contraceptive, you’re in luck, as this system acquaints you with your mucus signs. If you have decided to forego contraception as you’re planning to fall pregnant, I would strongly recommend you learn the Billings Method and use it to track your returning fertility before trying to fall pregnant.

It’s important when coming off the Pill that you get some good habits in place. These include good stress management, a healthy, high-vegetable, unprocessed diet, and regular exercise. This will go a long way towards making it an easy transition.

What actions are you taking to prepare your body for coming off the Pill?

 

 

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Getting Off The Pill Step 3

Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 5:45:55 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Consider Your Alternatives

You now know you would like to get off chemical contraception, whether it is the Pill, the injection (Depo Provera),  the implant (Implanon) or the hormone-secreting IUD (Mirena).

You understand how they work and don’t feel happy with what they are doing to your body.

Or, you may already have experienced negative side effects. You understand the problems or the potential problems.

It’s just not worth it to you.

But what on earth are you going to do instead?

This depends a lot on whether you are using it for contraception or for a health issue like acne, irregular periods or heavy, painful periods. We’ll cover the alternatives to deal with health problems in another series. All I will say now is that complementary medicine has a lot to offer these issues, be it naturopathy, Chinese herbal medicine, Western herbal medicine, or acupuncture.

But let’s focus on the conundrum of contraception and the alternatives to chemicals.

There are permanent options and temporary options.

If you have decided you don’t want anything involving putting chemicals into your body, there is a finite list of contraceptive alternatives. Let’s divide these into two groups: permanent and temporary.

The permanent options include male sterilisation (vasectomy), female sterilisation (tubal ligation) and hysterectomy (taking out the uterus).

The temporary options include condoms and fertility awareness methods including the Billings Ovulation Method, the Sympto-Thermal Method, the Creighton Model, and Natural Fertility Management.

Let’s go through these one by one.

Permanent Methods

Vasectomy – “Getting the Snip”

The first three months after a vasectomy is a “wash-out” period, but after this, it is very effective for contraception: only up to 20 couples out of 10 000 will fall pregnant in the first year. This compares with 500 couples out of 10 000 using the Pill as contraception. Vasectomies are very safe and considered a minor surgical procedure. If you are after permanent contraception, talking your partner into this one could be a good option!

Tubal Ligation – “Getting Your Tubes Tied”

Getting your tubes tied so that sperm and egg can’t unite is over 99% effective for avoiding pregnancy. The downside is that if you are unlucky enough to fall pregnant, there is a high chance (up to 80%) of this being an ectopic pregnancy. This is where the pregnancy occurs in the tube instead of the uterus and can be dangerous. On the up side, the laparoscopic or “keyhole” method makes this procedure a safer surgery than in previous years. It is commonly done at the same time as a Caesarean section when a woman is sure she doesn’t want to have any more children.

Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy, quite logically, is 100% effectiveness in avoiding pregnancy. A drastic choice though! The only reason I have included it is as an acknowledgement there are other reasons other than contraception that women are on the Pill, such as extremely painful or heavy periods. I have seen women with endometriosis choose to have a hysterectomy rather than stay on the Pill for this reason.

Condoms

Condoms are convenient. That is their major advantage. But after that, it’s not great news.

Let’s face it. Condoms are risky. 1400 couples out of 10 000 will fall pregnant using condoms in one year (compared again with 500 out of 10 000 on the Pill).

Fertility Awareness Methods

This next section covers the systems of contraception based on awareness of fertility signs. On the whole, the studies into these methods have not been as “scientifically rigorous” as we’d like. This means it may be harder to interpret their effectiveness. As a group, they have about a 1-3% failure rate – that is, up to 3 couples out of 100 fall pregnant unintentionally using the method.

Billings Ovulation Method

Teachers of this method are called Accredited Teachers of the Billings Ovulation Method,

This is the system with the most published research studies of all the fertility awareness-based methods. Again, while it is hard to compare the results of research with drug-based contraception, we do have some figures from studies. The most recent figures find that the Billings Method is greater than 99% effective for contraception. This means that in a year of use, up to 1 couple out of 100 will unintentionally fall pregnant.

Information on the Billings Ovulation Method can be found on the official website.

Sympto-Thermal Method

A 2007 study that looked at them as a group found just a 0.6/100 pregnancy rate in 13 cycles (which in a “textbook woman”, might be approximately a year). By my calculations this is 6 couples out of 1000 or 60 out of 10 000, which seems to compare remarkably well with the vasectomy and Pill examples above. Note that this was when sexual activity was (correctly!) avoided during the fertile times! The real-life situation was that couples didn’t always “follow the rules” and in 13 cycles, 1.8 women out of 100 fell pregnant unintentionally. By my calculations, this equates to 180 out of 10 000. Again, this still seems to compare favourably with the Pill. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, human error is common with the Pill – women forget to take it or fail to take precautions if they have had vomiting and so on, so the actual “real life” effectiveness of the Pill drops for this reason.

More information on the Sympto-Thermal Method can be found here.

Creighton Model

The Creighton Model describes itself as “a standardised modification of the Billings Method”. It is more prescriptive than the Billings Method, giving a limited array of options for women charting their fertility signs. Teachers of this model are called Fertility Care teachers. At the time of writing this post, there were fewer Creighton Model teachers in Australia than Billings Method teachers.

The effectiveness rates for this system were similar to Billings – a study of almost 2000 couples found a greater than 99% effectiveness rating. But note! This study also looked at “user effectiveness”, also called “user failure”. It compared user effectiveness with method effectiveness, which means what happened in “real life” rather than what happened if all rules were strictly followed. (Basically, couples break the rules at times, and this can be their downfall!) User effectiveness dropped to around 96%.

Information on the Creighton Model can be found on the official website.

Natural Fertility Management

This is a method that combines the Symptothermal Method with an awareness of the lunar cycle. The website promotes a high success rate of over 99% if used effectively by committed couples. Unfortunately, there are no research studies published on it.

Some of the studies of the fertility awareness methods mentioned that couples sometimes dropped out of these methods after a year or so of use – sometimes less. This makes sense; they do involve rules, commitment and discipline. They require both partners to be committed.

My next post looks at preparing to take the plunge getting off the Pill by getting your health and your nutrition in hand.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear your thoughts. What do you consider the pros and cons of these different methods?

 

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Five Top Tips For Sticking With Your Pelvic Floor Exercises Part 2

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015 at 4:24:07 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

What could possibly make pelvic floor exercises easy to stick with?

My last post gave you some tips including listening to an audio on pelvic floor exercises able to be downloaded to your phone or desk top.

But different things work for different people. Here's five more tips to get you sticking with your pelvic floor exercises.

Add them to your workout

You’re committed to the gym and you’ve been going twice a week. So no excuses for not having pelvic floor exercises the FIRST workout you do, before the class starts, before your personal trainer arrives, or your “rest” exercise between your harder sets.

Pick an easy time

Don’t expect the right time to present itself! Pick something predictable you know you do every day (like your shower) or several times a day (like washing your hands). Many women I know do them on the toilet AFTER emptying their bladder. It might be the only peace and quiet they get all day. And it can be a virtuous way of stalling before getting back to work that no one will notice but you!

Log your progress

Like many people I love the satisfaction of ticking off as done or crossing it off the list. We know that training logs work for other exercise – why not create a simple log on your phone or computer to tick off when you’ve done them? There are even apps to help you monitor your training, like the Kegel Trainer Pro!

Make deals with yourself

Let’s face it, we all have habits we are not proud of. One common one is drinking too much coffee. While you are trying to cut down, a great deal you can make with yourself is to add a healthy habit if you give in to an unhealthy one, and do your pelvic floors every time you boil the jug. (While you’re at it, have a glass of water too – it’s a great way to partially offset some of the issues of too much coffee!)

Have more sex

I couldn’t leave this one out. Many women tell me their favourite time to do their pelvic floors is during sex. They often get very good feedback when doing this – so it’s a win-win situation!

What tips work best for you?

One of the most common comments I get is that women don't know if they're doing them right, so they have no motivation to do them. This one is easily fixed! See a pelvic floor physio. Women I see tell me they come out of the session feeling much more confident.

appointment_button

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help A Tampon Go In Step 1

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7:38:41 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Look and You Will Find

When you have trouble inserting a tampon, you need a plan of action. This is the first tip in a ten part series on making tampons easier to use.

I hate to state the obvious.

But sometimes the simple things can be overlooked. You need to know where this thing needs to go. You need to know what's what down there.

It never ceases to amaze me how little we women know the intimate parts of our bodies. The vulva (the area between the legs from the bone at the front all the way to your anus) is a mysterious, often unexplored territory.

The best advice I can give here is:

Be brave. Have a look with a mirror. Find out where you're going.

Not keen? Don't worry. I'm not asking you to love this process (yet). I'm not going to go all 1970's hippy feminist sexuality class on you (but not to say this doens't work for some!).

Just be sensible. Think rationally. You don't try to get a contact lens in your eye with your eyes closed, do you? (Maybe that's a silly analogy, but I think you get the point).

Look at what you're doing (at first - you won't need to do this forever). (And mums - please encourage your daughters to do this! They very likely will not want you there. But make sure they have the resources they need to do this successfully - a large hand mirror, perhaps The V Book by Blah Blah.)

Get the mirror out, lie on the bed and hold it between your legs. Or, lie down in front of your wardrobe mirror. (Lock the door first.)

Separate the labia. In English, that means pull your lips apart. The lips (or labia) are the folds of skin around the vaginal opening.

Have a good look and/or feel until you are happy you know where the vaginal entrance is.

I know of people who have been trying to put the tampon in the "wrong hole".

I even know a husband and wife who were trying to get the penis in the "wrong hole" - the urethra, or entrance to the bladder.

Don't panic though - it's much more common to think it's the "wrong hole" and for it to actually be the "right hole".

In these cases, it's difficult for other reasons.

We'll get to some of those reasons in the next blog post, and the one after.

For now, don't be afraid to look. Remember, it's just being practical. And please, share your stories of the discoveries you have made when you do this.

Did "looking where you were going" help you?

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Best Ways to Help Tampons Go In - In Ten Easy Steps

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015 at 3:59:14 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Tampons can be tricky to use. What's the solution?

I'd like to help you to solve this common problem.

I hear about the problem inserting tampons all the time from my patients in my practice. When tampons won't go in, no matter how you try, it can be frustrating.

You would be surprised how many women have struggled - and still struggle - with using tampons.

Many of the women I see have long since given up trying to put in a tampon. Some women never tried, because they felt too apprehensive. Many more tried and had a bad experience, so have not kept trying.

But there are ways to make it easier.

So who has problems inserting tampons?

Maybe you're a fourteen-year-old girl working up the courage to try tampons so you can swim during your period.

Or maybe, like many of my patients, you're a woman in your twenties, thirties or forties struggling with painful sex. You have never been able to use tampons, but you came to terms with that. You just didn't go swimming during your period. But years later when you starting have sex you realised there was a bigger problem than not being able to use tampons - not being able to allow your vagina to accept your partner's penis (or finger). This is sometimes called vaginismus (correctly or incorrectly - and that's an issue for another blog post).

Painful sex - or not being able to have sex  - is often a later problem for women or girls who have trouble using tampons.

So when you have problems with penetration of your partner's penis, learning to insert tampons can be a helpful first step to a solution.

So, back to the problem at hand: how to make tampons easier to use? I have written a previous blog post on this, which I would like to elaborate on over a number of posts.

This is a ten-part series on how to solve the problem of difficulty inserting tampons.

Each post will focus on a single strategy. Start with the first strategy and see if that solves your problem. If not, incorporate the strategy in the second blog post, the third blog post, and so on. Best of luck, and please share your experiences in the Comments!

Read the first tip here.

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Five Top Tips for Sticking With Your Pelvic Floor Exercises

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015 at 4:13:18 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Why, oh why, is it so difficult to stick with pelvic floor exercises?

When we are so good at multitasking, pelvic floor still falls to the bottom of the pile. And yet we know how essential they are for preventing, improving and resolving bladder leakage, or incontinence as it's unglamorously known!

Somehow, by the end of another day, we still haven’t got to those pesky pelvic floor exercises. And then we are back at the pelvic floor physiotherapist with that famous line:

“I haven’t done as many as I should…”

Is there a way to change this? Of course there is! Several in fact! Here are a few of my top tips. Many of these have been given to me by my own patients who they have worked for.

But first, can I remind you, please don't do your pelvic floor exercises in the car. There are so many reasons you can read about here. And remember the ultimate aim is to get the pelvic floor muscles working properly in practical ways - read my top two tips for that here.

Visual reminders

The old chestnut: stickers. Putting stickers up around the house – or even innocuously coded post-it notes (e.g. “buy milk”) works for some! Keep changing the colour and location to stop yourself from looking straight through them! Put them in places it makes sense to do them: at the baby change table, on the electric socket for the vacuum cleaner, in the laundry.

Auditory reminders

Set the alarm on your phone. Whether it’s hourly (for pelvic floor awareness and activation through movement) or daily (for a stint of pelvic floor exercises), this one works a treat.

Making them fun

You try to make it fun to go to the gym, don’t you? Put some music on and use the rhythm to do some pelvic floors – ask your pelvic floor physio about holds and rests!

Play a CD

Sometimes we just need someone telling us to do what we should. So many patients have said to me “I wish I had you on my shoulder during the day reminding me what I should be doing!” So the next best thing: use a pelvic floor audio to talk you through your pelvic floors once a day, like this one, which can be downloaded to your phone and available at any time!

Involve your friends

We involve our friends with anything else fun...why not pelvic floor? We all know it’s fun to work out with friends. It's also great to laugh with friends. Combine both by sharing your pelvic floor exercising status on Facebook! You can make your commitment to pelvic floor public by posting “I’m doing my pelvic floor exercises. How about you?” as your status on Facebook. Go on, do it now...what are you waiting for?

(Part 2 of my top tips coming up soon...while you're waiting, enter your top tips in the Comments, and share your Pelvic Floor Exercises Status on Facebook now!)

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

The Pesky Piriformis Muscle…How to Lengthen It Without Stretching It

Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 12:30:44 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

Helping The Muscle That Is Literally A Pain In The Buttock

I have a dear patient who loves to express how much she despises the piriformis muscle.

She continually wonders aloud at what the point of having this muscle is, and laments its existence at all. She thinks it exists purely to wreak havoc on the pelvis and that its sole mission is to cause pain.

She does have a point: there seem to be an extraordinary number of situations where piriformis is causing hassles. I see this in sacroiliac problems, chronic pelvic pain, sciatica inside and outside of pregnancy, and after gynaecological surgery. Moving house, gardening and dancing can trigger it. Problems with the piriformis can be provoked by starting a new fitness regime such as running or gym classes.

When you have struggled with piriformis problems, it may seem like the piriformis is nothing but a menace to society.

But is it a case of just shooting the messenger?

For any of you who don’t know this muscle…lucky you! It probably means it hasn’t caused you many hassles (or that you haven’t found anyone who can tell you what your annoying buttock pain is!)

So what causes the piriformis to become a menace?

One simple issue is a short, tight piriformis muscle. You will probably be aware of how tight muscles can be uncomfortable – take sitting all day in a chair in the office, or holding a baby for hours a day, and imagine how your neck and shoulders feel.

If you are standing all day, you may feel active and even fit. But did you know your piriformis is quite tight in this position? There is a position many of us avoid that helps keep the length in this muscle:

Cross-legged sitting.  

pregnantwomancrossleggedsitting

In cross-legged sitting (sometimes called the tailor position) the piriformis is over 20% longer than in standing, and over 11% longer than in normal sitting, according to a 2006 study.

I have seen a number of patients with problems related to shortness of the piriformis muscles and surrounding soft tissue, such as a fit elderly man with proctalgia fugax (spasms in the rectum) and a tennis coach with chronic pelvic pain who had spent 20 years in a semi-crouch position on the tennis court. Many people with tailbone pain or coccydynia tend to have problems in this muscle too.And there are very few women I see with painful sex where this muscle isn't causing problems.

Many of us stop cross-legged sitting as adults, and I don’t think this is a good idea. If you don’t feel confident in your leg strength getting on and off the floor, try cross-legged sitting on the couch or bed.

This is not to say that stretching the piriformis is always a bad idea.

There are circumstances where this is extremely helpful. However, there are other times where it can exacerbate buttock and leg pain. Best to talk to your physiotherapist about what’s right for you.

Aside from muscle tightness, though, there is an even bigger reason that the piriformis plays up.

It is usually due to an imbalance of muscles in the pelvis.

This means that with ordinary everyday movement, you use less of the muscles that you should (such as the glutes, or buttock muscles) and this leaves all the work to the poor little measly piriformis muscle. It’s like asking your youngest child to carry all the luggage – rather unfair really.

So play fair with your piriformis, and see your physiotherapist to help reduce its load.

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

If I'm Not Supposed to Do My Pelvic Floors at Traffic Lights, When Am I Supposed to Do Them?

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 3:34:16 PM EST by Alyssa Tait

If you’re like my patients you’re a woman with a million things on her plate…how on earth are you supposed to remember to do your pelvic floors?

I recently blogged about how I don’t like the common advice to do your pelvic floor exercises at traffic lights.

This came at some disappointment to one of my patients!

Quite reasonably, she asked “when am I supposed to do them then?”

I understand the need for something to link your exercises to.

A mental association, a trigger.

A way to actually guarantee they get done.

A way to form the habit.

While we pelvic floor physios wish our patients would have the pelvic floor on the brain all day (as most of us do!), we do realise this can be a big ask!

So yes, I do agree it is a good idea to have a mental trigger that it’s Pelvic Floor Time.

My favourite activity triggers are those in which it is normal and helpful to be activating the pelvic floor.

Favourite Trigger #1: Every time you turn on the tap.

This is because a drop in pressure inside the urethra is normal in everyone when they hear running water. In some people, though, the pressure can drop too low, leading to a feeling of urgency like you need to pee.

Tightening the pelvic floor muscles increases the pressure inside the urethra and can prevent this from happening. Turning on the pelvic floor muscles is a natural action when you hear the sound of running water. So it makes sense to…

 “Turn it on when you turn it on!”

Favourite Trigger #2: Every time you stand up.

The pelvic floor muscles should be working every time you move. They work as a team with your other muscles of posture that stabilise your spine. In fact, these muscles should be so smart, they actually start to tighten even before you stand! That’s why my second tip is to…

“Pull up when you stand up!”

When’s your Pelvic Floor Time? Have you got any nifty triggers to share with the rest of us?

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter
Page 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14