I finally found some time in between tours to go and visit Shan for my second pelvic floor specialist appointment.
After receiving so much great info at the first appointment, I was keen to find out more. Shan greeted me in the waiting room and was eager to get me started on my next course of action.
She introduced me to a physiological model of a woman’s pelvic area. She took me through all the different areas of the interior workings. I was intrigued as she explained how the different muscles work in and around a woman’s bladder urethra, anus, etc.
This helped me to understand more fully how the pelvic floor muscles work and how important they are in the scheme of things on the Road to Continence – a road which I now feel I’m well and truly on thanks to her guidance.
A physical examination was also part of this visit. Shan has such exceptional skills in explaining exactly what’s what and she has such a comfortable manner to be around. I popped up on to the examination table and was given a modesty blanket. She asked if I was comfortable and I was.
I assured her that I was in no way embarrassed or had any hang-ups about having a vaginal examination. I mean you can’t exactly check your pelvic floor or check for prolapse from the outside.
We had a great conversation about embarrassment and the idea that the pelvic area of our bodies, the vagina, the vulva, the clitoris, is named ‘down there’ or ‘down below’ and how the correct biological names are generally not used. We talked about the idea of whether it’s a taboo topic that is stopping people from having the necessary care. Where does that even come from? The idea that we can’t talk about that part of our bodies has always fascinated me.
During the physical examination, Shan guided me to use the correct muscles when doing a Kegel exercise. Through this guidance I realised I had been doing them only half right! I was pulling up and holding but not squeezing horizontally. Shan also discovered that I have prolapse but with time and effort it can be fixed.
I then sat back down, we discussed further, and Shan gave me a list of things to do.
As I’m about to join my new friends at Curves Fitness Club, Shan needs to discuss my pelvic floor physiotherapy needs with my fitness instructor.
Shan has given me plenty of homework, including:
Do three sets of pelvic floor exercises daily, in repetitions of ten.
As Shan is aware that I’m about to get on a ship for a week, she came up with a health plan while I’m away, which includes some light exercise.
To get help for bladder, bowel and pelvic floor health:
- Call the free National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66
- Go to continence.org.au
- Or talk to your doctor