{Take Care} My pelvic floor injury – how I broke my lady bits

Yes, that’s right, I’m going to tell you a story about how I broke my lady bits.  This could have been a Laugh At My Expense story, but as it turns out, I didn’t find it very funny.

The reason I’m telling you this story (and risking grossing out my Dad) is that I consider it a very important public service announcement, which is why I’ve chosen it for this week’s {Take Care}.

Pelvic Floor and Pregnancy

During my pregnancy with CrashGirl, which was when we were in Scotland, the NHS held classes for all pregnant women to learn about your pelvic floor, the effects of birth and how to do pelvic floor exercises.  Unfortunately for me the Relaxin hormone produced during pregnancy had my joints relaxin’ just a little too much, especially in my pelvis.  Perhaps that’s a good thing though.  Have you seen how small our pelvis actually is?

Model of woman's pelvis with baby engaged

Unbelievably this is NOT how I broke my lady bits.

{image credit Sarah M Stewart via Flickr}

I suffered Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) pain from about 6 months onwards.  I was especially conscious about doing my pelvic floor exercises because they help to support the pelvis and SI joint.  After the birth, which was non-traumatic and didn’t result in any injuries ‘down there’, the SIJ pain mostly went away.

But not quite, and then I became pregnant again.  The SIJ pain started up straight away.  Again I was careful with my pelvic floor exercises and made sure I didn’t do anything to aggravate it.  Again I had a trauma-free birth, but I had more work to do to rehabilitate my SIJ.  I saw a physio and did Pilates and got back to full fitness again.

Pelvic Floor Injury

Fast forward to the end of last year.  I was taking CrashGirl to the toilets and when we walked through the door we slid on the wet floor.  I practically did the splits, with CrashGirl’s full weight pulling my legs apart.  It hurt.  Like Hell.

Slippery when wet sign

This sign would have been handy.

{image credit smadden via Flickr}

The next day my lady bits were feeling a bit tender and then my SIJ flared up.  The day after that I got the shock of my life when I found a lump – down there.  Like I had started sprouting one half of a pair of gentleman’s bits if you know what I mean.  I thought I had cancer.  Once I had calmed down and realised it must be to do with the splits incident I hobbled off to the GP who confirmed it was a rather large haematoma.

I had to see a gyno physiotherpist who confirmed I had actually torn my pelvic floor!  I was now in worse shape than I had been with either of my two births.  I got off pretty lightly in childbirth compared with this.  It took me a good 6 months of pelvic floor exercises and Pilates twice a week to get my pelvic stability back.

Now, let this be a lesson to you.

I didn’t have any major issues with my pelvic floor muscles before, during pregnancy and birth and even after.  I was very careful to do my pelvic floor exercises.  It took a freak accident to do the damage I did.

However, if you don’t look after your pelvic floor muscles, you wouldn’t need to do the splits before you got into trouble.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Imagine the problems I could have now and when I’m older if I hadn’t looked after my pelvic floor:

  • urinary incontinence
  • bowel incontinence
  • sexual dissatisfaction
  • uterine and other pelvic organ prolapse

Really, do we require any more reasons to convince us all of the importance of our pelvic floor?

Pelvic  Floor Exercises

Do you do pelvic floor exercises?  How often?

I must admit I’ve been a little remiss lately and forget.  It is easy to forget when you’re a busy mum.  So, my {Take Care} task for you this week, is to start doing your pelvic floor or Kegel exercises every day.  Ideally  three to four times a day.

Pelvic Floor diagram

There are many resources on how to do pelvic floor exercises.  The Royal Women’s Hospital in Victoria has a fact sheet on pelvic floor exercises which you may find useful.  Which exercises, how many and how long you hold each exercise for will depend on your current PF fitness.  Here are some tips which I have found useful:

  • Don’t over-tighten your muscles.  In doing so you may activate muscles in your abs and buttocks rather than isolating your PF muscles.
  • Try and imagine (I hope you have to imagine!) that you are drawing a ‘pea up a drinking straw’ and that drinking straw is your vagina.  Weird analogy I know, but it ensures a more gentle and controlled contraction that isolates your pelvic floor only.
  • Don’t forget to breathe!  Especially when doing longer holds, or you’ll turn blue ;)
  • Try and associate your exercises with a certain activity you do eg waiting in a queue, doing the dishes, having a shower

So, are you going to join me this week?  Do you already do pelvic floor exercises, or do you need more convincing?  If you need more convincing, please re-read the section above on Pelvic Floor Dysfunction ;)

Laney

PS If you’ve found me via the Kidspot and Ford Territory Top 50 Bloggers competition, you can read my ‘Feel the Difference’ entry post and vote here :)

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Comments

  1. Eek! Ok, ok, I’m doing my exercises right now! I am 27 weeks pregnant, and a nurse with a bladder the size of an elephants so I really should be much better with my pelvic floor exercises. Thanks for the reminder :)

  2. Ouchies! You poor thing!!! My two rather large babies have pushed my PF to it’s limits so I try to do exercises whenever I remember. “Kegels” is one of the most common search terms to hit my blog – so it’s obviously a very common concern! Good on you for sharing for the greater good xx

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Thanks Née. I think women can be a bit blase about doing the exercises. And it they get weaker with age too, not just childbirth. I think it’s only when your PF fails you that you start to take notice!

  3. Hi Laney, I had a ten and a half pounder and know all about SIJ injuries – I saw a few specialists in Sydney and was told my pelvic floor was so bad, I’d never run again. Thirteen years later, I’m proof positive that the right type of pelvic floor exercises and pilates helps!. In fact, that’s why I ended up becoming a pilates instructor. I would encourage any woman who is having pelvic floor issues to see a physio and or pilates instructor.

  4. Youch you poor thing! I am bit slack about these exercises, I needed another reminder, lots of sex helps strengthen the pelvic floor too ;-) Just saying 

  5. I had the SI joint issues too so I know how much that hurts but the splits! Ow!! Unfortunatly I wasn’t quite as good as keeping up with the kegals as I should have been and as a result I can no longer run cough or jump on a trampoline. Heed the warning peoples!

  6. traffic lights – do your PF then, great reminder!

  7. Oh dear! Sounds painful! And so sorry that it’s lead to more complications. Thanks for the public service reminder! – I certainly have weak pelvic floor muscles after 2 babies. I’ve been meaning to do something about it… so this is very timely. (You are so great at helping me out with medical stuff, Laney!) :)

  8. I have had 6 babies… first 4 vaginally then last 2 big ones via Csection… I am a firm believer in PFE and so I have been lucky… kinda…. my first baby “dropped”early and kept growing inside my pelvis… relaxin was my enemy during pregnancy and I have a scoliosis in my lower spine so pregnancy was uncomfortable to say the least. My first labour was 26 hours and tore the ligaments joining my pelvic bones…. but all this should have left me with issues but because I was vigilant in my PFE I have got away relatively well off… It is this easy…. Checking your email…. PFE….. open the fridge…PFE….. maybe every time you wait for the kettle to boil…. PFE….. brush your teeth….PFE….. write PFE in a few places to remind yourself….. I worked out that I could do them 12 times a day just by looking at the above list and picking a few

    Happy clenching

  9. Ouch Laney! I think I actually had tears in my eyes reading that.
    Thanks for the reminder…doing my lady-bits work-out as we speak!

  10. You poor thing! You are definitely a trooper to have put up with a torn muscle and not really noticed it until the lump. Glad to hear it’s on the mend,
    Nic xxx

  11. Oh dear!  Glad you are back to fighting fitness down below.  Must avoid sloppy floors!  You’ve prompted a few pelvic floor exercise whilst I sit here.  Not usually a huge problem except when on trampoline with kids… 

  12. Oh, my ouch! You’ve reminded me. Never had problems really but doesn’t mean I mightn’t. Gotta kick complacency goodbye. 

  13. ohhh.. sorry to hear about how the journey got you to there and now here.
    just realised as I am typing this I am squeezing the bits and forgot to breathe

    have a wonderful day

    loulou, from hereiamloulou blog
    x

  14. Oh.my.gawd, you poor thing, that must’ve been awful. Particularly that it was such a ‘minor’ fall compared to giving birth… Jay-sus… I went the a pelvic floor physio after my second (and last) baby. She relieved me of $160 but gave me so much more – the complete confidence I was doing the exercises correctly. Now I just have to remember to actually do them…

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Oh yes, nasty injury and so unexpected! PF physics are fantastic. So many people are not doing their exercises properly. It makes a huge difference when you get it right. It can be hard to remember though!

  15. I recently experienced something similar. While shopping, my feet started sliding and my legs were going every which way ( doing the splits in many directions) until I could regain my footing, followed by a strange feeling down below as you yourself described. Which has now been diagnosed as prolapse, and of course the doctor says he can not say specificly that the cause was due to my shopping incident. I know my body and I was fine before, but not afterwards and this is so depressing…They try to pass it off as a part of aging…My grandmother had 11 children and never any problems down below , as I have never had until now following my accident at my local grocey… If anyone can help me with more documentation concerning similar incidents with similar results, PLEASE CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL, postallouise@msn.com. Thank You

    • I read you had pelvic floor injury??????? Was it referred to as prolapse??????????

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Sorry to hear about your injury. Mine was not a prolapse, more an acute injury caused by my accident. Perhaps you could see a gynecological physiotherapist to get a diagnosis? If you did injure your pelvic floor and didn’t do anything to rehabilitate it, then I believe that this can eventually cause a prolapse because the PF muscles have been weakened and can no longer to their job. Good luck.

  16. Hey there – just visiting from Top 50 Bloggers (I’m slowly working through the list – I’m closer to the bottom) and clicked on this blog post. I can completely relate to pelvic pain and pregnancy – I had severe SPD and ended up on crutches and bed rest. Bloody agony! I had no idea pregnancy could be such an ordeal. You’ve certainly been through an ordeal – your injury sounds terrible. Good luck in the Kidspot comp! xx

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Thanks very much for dropping in. Yep, I was on crutches at the end of my last pregnancy. Awful isn’t it? I hope the post is a bit of a heads up for the unwary!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the body department since I had kids!  I had difficult pregnancies, problems with wobbly joints, a pelvic floor injury, and a herniated disc in my back (twice!).  I’m beginning to wonder if it is my body that is [...]

  2. [...] ago.  With all my pelvic instability problems throughout pregnancy and then my accident where I broke my lady bits, I was really nervous about getting back on the rock again.  What if I couldn’t do it?  [...]

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