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Pelvic floor success stories please!! I need motivation and inspiration.....

(16 Posts)
VeryPoorFloor Tue 29-Apr-14 03:50:11

I have always had a weakish pelvic floor, but things have got really bad since the birth of my daughter a year ago. I can't exercise, jump, cough etc without wetting myself. I have been having physio for nearly 3 months from a specialist women's health physio and I am using an electrical stimulation unit every day as I can't get much of a contraction by myself. I also have to try to do the manual exercises to try and get the muscles firing again. It looks like I have nerve damage too as sensation is very much dulled on one side of my vagina.

So, 3 months into treatment, there is a definite improvement but it is very slight and I am nowhere near throwing the pads away. I find around my period everything gets much worse again and I feel like I am back to square one.

I would love to hear from those who have improved their pelvic floor back to functioning properly and how long it took. I need to hear success stories to make me believe that one day, I will get there and won't be like this for the rest of my life. I want to be able to run after my daughter and exercise like I used to do....

NutellaLawson Tue 29-Apr-14 04:29:02

I had nerve damage too after an horrific birth with dc1. I was completely incontinent for months. none of this tena pads lark, full on adult nappies for me!

Once I was able to feel my pf again and nerve function had got me to just stress incontinence levels, I did pfe but inconsistently. I only really began to see real results from doing 10 quick, a ten second hold and the lift going up floors exercise about ten times a day (I did them at meal times and when hand washing after a loo visit and while cleaning teeth.)

certain things will always set you back. periods, coughs lasting more than a day or so, vomiting bugs, running (avoid!) pregnancy and Hay fever.

my stress incontinence is now mild (19 months since dc1 birth) my pregnancy with dc2 had me back in the really big pads (size of a toddler nappy) and a 3 week cough had me in adult nappies but after a few weeks of pfe again I'm back to being able to sneeze and not always piss myself (as long as i clench to brace). I still wear a pad but it's a teeny tena one, not a big old 30cm by 6cm thing.

my pelvic floor seems to have recovered really bloody quickly from having dc2, too. It can bounce back. Don't despair.

VeryPoorFloor Tue 29-Apr-14 07:25:32

Thank you for replying! I can't believe you went on to be pregnant again after going through that - I am petrified that if I have another baby things will get even worse. The physio has said it's best to not even consider that at the moment.

It's great to hear such a positive story though, it's very encouraging. I need to focus on the progress I have made (I can now perform a small contraction on my own) rather than the fact that I'm not completely better yet. All the literature says 3 months is how long it takes but I thinks that is for mild problems rather than the issues I have. It's good to hear though that if you put the work in, it does have sign significant results eventually!

bellybuttonfairy Fri 02-May-14 11:57:11

Me too - rectocele and cystocele here. They were terrible after dc1 - my pelvic floor was so weak I couldnt do pelvic floor contraction at all.

I had some bladder incontinence (although my physio couldnt believe it wasnt more as it was so weak) but I did have some bowel incontinence during subsequent pregnancies....

I am pretty amazing at my pelvic floor exercises now. Infact I joke and say I have a pelvic floor of steel. It just takes time and lots of exercise. I have no incontinence and my prolapses dont seem to be a problem unless im doing high impact exercises. Unfortunately I cant run any more as its too uncomfortable.
I dont have any incontinence issues unless I have a very full bladder and do something like sneeze!
I just make sure I dont get to that desperate full stage.

I was devastated when I had them initially but now it has very little impact on my life.

fivecupsoftea Fri 02-May-14 12:50:25

I'm also needing inspiration. I love sport and am desperate to get back bladder control so I can carry on. I initially tried mainly with an electrical stimulator, but it didn't seem to help. Three weeks ago I decided to stop running in the hope that would help and am obsessively doing my pelvic floor exercises without the machine. How long will it take and will I ever regain control? Is there anything else I can do?

cardamomginger Fri 02-May-14 19:29:13

My pelvic floor was shot after I had DD 3.5 years ago. I had a 3cm gap in my puborectalis and a total of 5 prolapses. Nerve damage. And a displaced coccyx. Torn urethra and clitoris. Double incontinence. Lucky me. When I first saw my physio I scored 0.5 out of 5 for pelvic floor strength. A combination of surgery and physio (electronic stimulation and 'normal' PFEs) has seen me get to almost 4 out of 5. Sensation has also returned and things are feeling much more normal down there. I don't have accidents any more.

It can take a LONG time for the muscles to wake up - electronic stimulation is great, but it can still take a while. 3 months isn't that long. It takes even longer for the nerves to calm down and fire normally again.

Have you seen a gynae to rule out any prolapse or deep muscle tears? Are they quite sure that it is 'just' weak pelvic floor muscles? One other thing that it might be worth running past your gynae or physio (if they haven't commented on this already) is whether your pelvic floor muscle is in fact in spasm rather than being too weak. This can happen after a traumatic birth, and some women are more prone to it anyway. Pelvic floor spasm can be confused with pelvic floor weakness because the spasming muscle can't contract any further, so when you try to do a pelvic floor squeeze you just can't. They can look for this in when they do an internal examination by doing pressures with a finger on the individual muscles - if it hurts you and if it feels tight, then it's spasm. In this case you need to get it to release via trigger point therapy and probably using dilators, rather than further stimulating the muscle with a electronic stimulator. (This happened to me!)

VeryPoorFloor Sat 03-May-14 00:30:19

So there is hope!! You ladies have really inspired me - you've come back from some very difficult issues - thank you so much for sharing.

I've been seen by a gynaecologist, a uro-gynae and 3 physios (I am not in the UK so I can choose who I see, I'm very lucky) and all of them agree that there is no structural damage, just very weakened muscles. I had issues way before being pregnant (I remember wetting myself when vomiting when I was a teenager) but I just wasn't aware it was a sign of greater problems to come back then.

It seems I just need to put in the work with the pfe's and give it time.

I have to admit though that I don't think, at this point, that I can consider going through this again after another pregnancy and birth so it's looks like our daughter may be an only child - and that does make me sad.

bellybuttonfairy Sun 04-May-14 21:14:21

Aw! I was exactly the same after dc1. I felt that my fit capable body was completely mashed. I was very overwhelmed and that I had aged 30 years.

I felt much better as the months went on. I would say that by the time the baby was one I was back to being me. That was a combination of coping with a baby and recovering from the prolapse!

Anyway, I have 3 dc now - I had them In quick succession. I actually didnt have as many problems with the second and third - although maybe I was less concerned as I knew I just needed time to heal.

ClimbingPenguin Sun 04-May-14 21:46:13

sound very similar to me.

Took nine months of physio (monthly appointments) with no running during this time (as that can make it worse).

Not long ran a half marathon in sub 2 hours. Still have problems around AF sometimes, but I know to go easy but importantly keep up my PF exercises

bellybuttonfairy Sun 04-May-14 23:01:18

Sorry to hijack the thread climbingpenguin. Im thinking of trying running again. Im walking 40 plus miles a week (very long school runs) but its not the same is it?

When im doing my day to day activities - ive forgotten I ever had them - but can actually feel them when running and its uncomfortable ( or am I just worried Im causing more damage?).

Did you experience this and just trained through it?

Can I suggest you try Pilates classes, or a 1-1 session with a practitioner? I have been amazed by the difference in my pelvic floor strength since I started this a while ago. I haven't even done many classes, but have a DVD which I've done too. I went originally with back pain, but the exercises to improve core strength made a difference straight away. All the stress incontinence issues I had up until a few months ago, which, combined with horrible periods (peri-menopause) were making life very miserable indeed. Now I can run, cough, carry shopping etc with no problems.

cardamomginger Mon 05-May-14 09:53:02

Be careful with pilates. If your pelvic floor is very very weak or is damaged, but your abdominals are still OK, you will be 'unbalanced' and you are in danger of your stronger abdominals just pushing things out and down through a weak pelvic floor.

That's not to say that pilates can't still be a good idea, but you need to be very careful, go slowly and do less in terms of abdominals. As the pelvic floor strengthens, then more abdominals can be added in.

As for running, I think you have to suck it and see. Although a strong core and PFEs will help a lot. I was a runner prior to having DD, but even with surgery and masses of physio, I've had to give it up sad. Just can't take the risk that it will damage things again.

VeryPoorFloor Mon 05-May-14 11:18:31

That's actually what happened to me with pilates. I did loads in the 2 years running up to being pregnant - basically I weakened my pelvic floor even further by building up very strong abs but not a strong lower back or pelvic floor and so the internal pressure during pilates was pushed down. I also wasn't breathing correctly which added to the pressure.

The physio has me just concentrating on the pfe's at the moment and then I'm going to start the hab-it DVD.

Thankfully I was never into running before (I used to spin) so I don't have to worry about that.

ClimbingPenguin Mon 05-May-14 22:10:20

walking and running are different. It's the impact I assume. 40 miles, wow. On the plus when it comes to calories burned it doesn't really matter if you walk or run the distance.

For a while I could do slow runs, but I couldn't stride out and do the sub 9 mins. It was frustrating as I physically felt I could do better and my body wanted to (apart from the part that wanted to drip out wee with every hit). I still wax and wane now. Took a break after the half and stopped my PFs (although had a horrible cough for three weeks). Getting started again has been a cruel reminder.

I wouldn't advise running through it as it won't tackle the underlying problem and could make it worse.

VeryPoorFloor Mon 15-Sep-14 08:22:29

I just wanted to give an update for anyone doing a search on this (i know I searched loads when I first started going through this!). So, my pelvic floor strength has now gone from a 0 out of 5 to a 3-4 out of 5 (3 on the side with the nerve damage and 4 on the other side), which obviously i am thrilled about. I used the electro stim for about 6 weeks and that got me able to do a minor contraction by myself. I then started to work with a kegelmaster every day (a plastic thing with springs that you use as a resistance machine), going from one spring on the easiest setting to where i am now - 2 springs on the hardest setting. I used it twice a day until recently when I now do it just once a day and will hopefully move up to 3 springs soon.

i have been seen by another urogynae, considered one of the best here where i live, and had urodynamics testing done. It looks like my stress incontinence is due to more than just a weak pelvic floor and I do have some structural damage to my urethra. This is why my stress incontinence has only improved slightly. I wear a thin pad every day and near my period i need a much bigger one. I leak worse if i have an alcoholic drink or two. I can't do any exercise without leaking. On bad days, i can't walk 10 mins at a fast pace without leaking. I had the neovaginal laser treatment and whilst this did help tighten up my vaginal walls, it didn't help the incontinence.

So, after nearly 5 months, my pelvic floor is much better and my risk of prolapse is significantly reduced. Sex is starting to feel normal again, finally. My daughter is now 15 months old, so its been a long old journey! But, it looks like i will need to have a TVT op if i want to not wear a pad everyday. My dr tells me many women would live with this level of leakage and they consider it normal after kids. I just can't accept this as i loved exercising and dancing and i refuse to give this up. So this means I may well go for the TVT and thus not have another baby. I just don't think my body can cope with another pregnancy! I'll update again once I have the op, if that's what i decide to do......

VeryPoorFloor Thu 20-Nov-14 23:29:34

Just to update to say that I went for the TVT in the end and it was the right decision - I have not leaked since!! I felt a bit rubbish the week after but not much pain at all. The worst bit of the recovery is not being able to lift anything - so I can't pick up my daughter. Unless you have full time childcare, this op would be a no-no with babies or toddlers.

I'm now really looking forward to exercising and going on long walks at the end of this year.

My advice, if you want to have the op, is to make sure that you have a very experienced uro-gynae doing the surgery. The success is all to do with how the tape is placed so you want a surgeon who does a couple of these ops a week rather than one or two a year.

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