Life can get crazy and off-schedule, but I guarantee that no matter what happens, there is one thing that you will do without a doubt.
Urinating seems like a simple thing. After all, we naturally do this right out of the womb. However, there are several things that can interfere with this simple bodily function. Things like pregnancy and giving birth (even if it’s via c-section), can have dramatic effects on the pelvic floor muscles and cause problems with urination.
The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that run from the front of the pubic bone all the way to the tailbone and acts like a sling supporting the bladder, vagina and rectum. The pelvic floor is responsible for allowing you to be able to urinate effectively. As a medical provider, we used to be taught that the pelvic floor was only affected if a person had several vaginal deliveries. However, we now know that pregnancy alone can affect these muscles, and it only takes 1 delivery to cause some trouble. A Cesarean section does not prevent pelvic flood dysfunction from occurring!
In this conversation I had with Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas, a pelvic floor physical therapist, we discuss all things bladder, including overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, interstitial cystitis and more!
4:00- Why a pregnancy (even just 1) can affect the pelvic floor
9:20- Managing symptoms and feelings of having a urinary tract infection (UTI) when it isn’t actually a UTI
11:25- Why kegels don’t cure everything
12:38- Pelvic bladder prolapse
15:28- Repairing a woman’s muscles, especially if she isn’t done having children
18:30- How lifestyle like certain beverages contribute to overactive bladder
22:45- Helping those who have urinary incontinence
27:45- Interstitial cystitis and how bowel movements can affect bladder health
31:08- Ways to improve bowel health and function
One of the interesting things we chat about at about minute 31:08 is how you can improve your bowel health as a way to improve your bladder function. One of the items Dr. Alicia recommends is a step stool to use at the toilet. I couldn’t agree more! My favorite is the squatty potty. Go to my Amazon Store to look at other recommended products! (This is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.)
You can learn more and connect with Dr. Alicia on Instagram: @thepelvichealthladies!
Bladder health is vital, and if you feel like you’re having difficulties like those in our discussion, don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor about it. It is not something to be embarrassed about. Your healthcare provider is there to provide you with the care and resources you need!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
Follow Shannon on TikTok @tiktokbabydoc, Facebook @babiesafter35, and Instagram @babiesafter35.
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