One of my original first ‘pals’ on Twitter, when my daughter actually first signed me up in 2011, was Pete Moore from the UK (@paintoolkit2) and Pete has always been brilliant at retweeting anything I have had to say and is a source of wonderful pain management info in the UK. We have also been known to have a running commentary on our respective weather extremes- he’s usually complaining about the cold and snow while I’m whinging about the stinking heat on our 42.3 C days. So when Pete found this brilliant simple little chart above, which very aptly describes most pelvic floor physiotherapists, I asked him could I use it for a blog.
As I said in my last blog- which was written by the brilliant Jo Milios on men’s health – us women’s health physios sort of know each other pretty well for a bunch of people who have mostly never met! And what I have learned about them all is encompassed by this diagram beautifully.
Our Facebook and Twitter entries certainly reflect that we know how to have fun– I mean I’ve seen Diane Lee upside down in a yoga pose on a stand up paddleboard for goodness sake!
And we have the funniest pelvic floor physio on the earth, Elaine Miller, who can make a living from doing stand up comedy (and I believe one of our true world stars in physical therapy Sandy Hilton is pretty good at stand up as well).
Elaine Miller Comedienne Sandy Hilton
We have Fiona Rogers – who, apart from running with Craig her husband a fantastic pelvic floor supplies website, working part time doing women’s health physio and raising two gorgeous girls – spends 3/4 of her life tracking down funny cat and dog videos to keep me in stitches. I could go on and on.
I absolutely know we all dream big– Jo Milios with thinking outside the square and using the cross-faculty sharing of information from her supervisors (cardio-vascular doctors) to look at an important link for treating erectile dysfunction. There have been many of us (Tracy Sher, The Pelvic Guru; Sarah Haag who works with Sandy at Entropy Physio; Diane Lee, Beth Shelly, Ginger Garner, Julie Wiebe plus many others) who are keen to share our ideas by writing blogs and books- leaving a legacy for our profession and the community which we hope will get the message out to all who’ll listen- patients, the general public, governments, the medical profession, journalists.
And the message is: that blasting this silent problem out of the cupboard and into the mainstream is important, will save money for the economy and most importantly will boost the self esteem and happiness of a large number of people.
And yes finally- we all get shit done (excuse the French!). I know we have always done this exceptionally well but I do know this has escalated in the last 15 months through the work many Women’s Health physios do via social media- on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their blogs. Some of these Facebook groups now have thousands of members which can mean while the rest of the world sleeps, we Physios are brainstorming the pelvic floor problems of all of you out there!
So can I recommend to you that:
If you have any urinary leakage– no it isn’t normal with aging…yes it’s prevalent, but don’t accept it . Get on and find a physio/ physical therapist in your town, state or country, or ring up the Continence Foundation of Australia for a chat on the phone.
If you have faecal incontinence– yes it’s embarrassing, but no it’s not shameful. Your pelvic floor physio WILL listen compassionately and be able to help you become clean and most importantly more confident because with faecal incontinence it’s the uncertainty that is the worst part.
If you have prolapse– yes early intervention does make a difference but no it’s never too late. Get to your physio and she’ll teach you how to slow or even stop the progression of your prolapse. And if you do require surgery, she will teach you the important strategies to stop your surgery from failing because of silly things you may do without even realizing.
If you have pain- pelvic, bladder, ano-rectal, vaginal, sexual, scrotal, penile- these are all exquisitely personal areas…but your pelvic floor physiotherapist will be very discreet, not embarrassed to assess properly and will have some new ways to approach the pain that don’t involve a drug cupboard (except the one in your brain) or a scalpel.
As yet another International Women’s Day approaches, do yourself a favour and get yourself to a continence and women’s health physiotherapist- pronto.
Definition of a women’s health physiotherapist