When you work as a therapist, you will sometimes meet people that change your life, this is the story about one of them…
In late otober 2016 I met with a new patient of mine. She came across as an incredible sweet and likable person. That is often the way with people that suffer in silence.
25 years ago she gave birth to her youngest child. It was a challenging labour, and she was exhausted afterwards. Postpartum recovery was slow, but her doctor kept telling her this was normal and it would all heal up eventually. No further checkups was required. She settled with this advice.
Life after birth
As time went by this woman found it challenging that she was leaking urine. She was incontinent. This was a problem when engaging in exercise and sexual activity with her husband. Too ashamed to discuss this further with ANYONE she pulled away from these situations. She became depressed. She got divorced. She never met up with someone new.
25 years later
Unfortunately this women was diagnosed with a progressive illness. The nature of the illness made it crucial for her to engage in physical activity to stay mobile. Now facing new challenges she decided to make an attempt on getting a second opinion on her incontinence.
Upon examination we found that her pelvic floor was weak. She had been attempting to perform pelvic floor exercises, but unfortunately her technique was poor. After one session she felt safe to do home exercises. After a month she could control her leakage. This winter she went skiing, and running. She was an excellent patient, never skipping her exercises. She had tremendous progress in short time.
Health professionals needs to know, postpartum is for the rest of your life.
There is nothing magical about this story. It breaks my heart to know that simple exercises could have changed this woman’s life, 25 years ago. We are meeting women that are deprived of physical activity and families that are torn apart because of the shame associated with urinary incontinence.
The sad part of this is that 1 out of 3 health professionals refuse to acknowledge facts about pelvic health. The research into prevention and treatment of incontinence is conclusive in recommending pelvic floor exercise as first line treatment. Still- women that attempt to get help with their leakage are met with poor advice and are told that this is normal.
Is incontinence normal?
Yes it is. One out of three women will experience this during their life. But it doesn’t mean we need to live with it. The treatment options are there.