What can Pelvic Floor PT do for you? Keep your OG knees and stop wasting money on pads.
Have you ever thought about what your life is going to look like as you get older? Maybe your vision for the future involves a healthy body, an abundance of grandchildren, and a blissful and active retirement. Or maybe you're a little more glass-half-empty and are getting ready to resign yourself to a future of joint replacements, nursing homes, adult diapers, and bingo as the highlight of your week. After all, the latter is often what society is telling us is waiting for us in our elder-hood. And chances are you know someone in your family that this has happened to. It's inevitable, right?
I'm here to tell you that the picture society paints for us about aging does not have to be accepted as inevitable. You can be very proactive in your younger adult life to avoid things like joint replacements and adult diapers.
Let's set the scene
I'd like to introduce you to Julia, a 74 year old woman who had two beautiful children in her early 20's. Unfortunately for Julia, she's never felt the same since. She has always worn a pad in her underwear because she often pees when she coughs and laughs. She's overweight and has been for awhile because exercise, or really any activity, makes her bladder leak. Julia hates this and is embarrassed by it, so she doesn't move very much in an effort to avoid leaking. All the extra weight she is carrying has put a lot of wear and tear on her knees. The arthritis that's developed is killer and her knees are bone on bone. Julia has done everything she can, and knee replacements are now the only option left. Despite developing arthritis over the past several decades, Julia has managed to discover a nifty little trick: if she goes to the bathroom every hour, then she doesn't seem to leak as much! What a relief! But man, has her bladder gotten small... Must be a getting older thing... right?
So, Julia decides to get the knee replacement surgery since it's the only option left. She finds herself a good surgeon who recommends prehab with a good physical therapist. Though her knees hurt like the dickens, she can still get up and move well enough to make it to her hourly date with the porcelain throne. She's doing all of her exercises and knows that recovery is going to hurt. But Julia is prepared to push through the pain so she can have a good recovery outcome.
Surgery comes and Julia is fortunate enough to be taken back to the OR in the morning. Come afternoon, PT is knocking on her door and getting her up for the first time. There is no rest in the hospital when there are knees to rehab! But boy, does it suck, way more than Julia bargained for. This knee HURTS even with all the pain medication. Julia can't help but look at the clock, hoping this PT session will be over soon. In doing so, she realizes it's been way past an hour since she last peed and the urge to go overcomes her. Only problem is that there is no way she's going to make it to the bathroom in time, her knee feels like a 100lb cinder block that's on fire, and she can't wait for the hospital staff to get her a bedpan.
The bed gets flooded. Julia is so embarrassed.
The hospital staff try to reassure her that it's fine, not to be embarrassed, this happens all the time (because it does, let me tell you), and they'll get her cleaned up in a jiff. They do clean her up and put her in a pair of adult diapers, in case she incontinent again. Julia finishes her hospital PT sessions and is able to go home the next day. But do you know what comes home with her? Those adult diapers. In these early days of recovery, she simply can't get to the bathroom in time once the urge hits, and she is becoming incontinent around the clock. This slightly improves as she gets further out from her surgery and she continues on with her recovery, but she is never fully able to ditch the diapers.
What can we learn from Julia?
Is this the future that's in store for you? Are you leaking after having your kids? Are you too embarrassed to talk about it and instead just suffer in silence? Are you avoiding activities that you love or exercise in general? I'm here to tell you that you can avoid this whole cascade of events that Julia experienced!
Why, pelvic floor PT of course!
If Julia had been in to see a pelvic floor PT after the birth of her children, she could have resolved her leaking issue. In doing so, she wouldn't have kept herself so inactive and would have had better weight management as she aged. Carrying around excess body weight causes more rapid deterioration of our joints, so by carrying less weight, her knees would have experienced significantly less stress and remained far healthier, thus avoiding the need for replacement surgery all together. Julia's pelvic floor PT also would have told her to stop JIC-ing (just in case peeing) every hour as this creates a bad habit that our bladder picks up on very quickly. The bladder is a very habitual organ, and if you empty it too soon when it isn't actually full, it will start to inappropriately associate small amounts of urine with being "full."
So do what Julia didn't. Get in to see your pelvic floor PT if you're leaking and save your knees!
Still leaking after having your babe? Send me a message and let's get you seen.