Despite bladder leakage being very common in postpartum women, with 1 in 3 women reporting leakage after giving birth, there are many myths surrounding the symptom and the pelvic floor. We invited Dr. Angela Turnow, an orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapist who helps active moms stop bladder leakage postpartum, onto our podcast to debunk these myths about your pelvic floor health and leakage.
Is Bladder Leakage Just Due to a Weak Pelvic Floor?
No! A common misconception of bladder leakage is that it occurs when your pelvic floor is weak, when this just isn’t true. Angela says that, “bladder leakage is just a symptom… They are just symptoms of something not working well. Like your body is not working efficiently, it’s not working well together.” A lot of times, moms think that in order to correct this problem, they need to constantly tense, tighten and engage the muscles in their pelvic floor, but instead, that just makes them feel weak, tired, and as a result, not work well. Ultimately, bladder leakage isn’t just because of a weak pelvic floor, but it also involves how the entire body, like your hips, core, shoulders, posture, and more work together.
Angela also thinks it is important to note that typically, exams to check your pelvic floor are performed with you on your back, and most of the time, women don’t have bladder leakage when they are positioned that way. So, if you aren’t used to contracting those muscles in that position, it won’t be the most reliable test for figuring out the strength of your pelvic floor and any potential problems. It is important to explore all of your possible options if you don’t get the answers you are looking for. Don’t settle when it comes to your health!
Is Bladder Leakage Just a Normal Part of Getting Older?
No! Once again, Angela emphasizes the point that bladder leakage is just a symptom of your body not working well together, not only due to your aging process. While bladder leakage can increase in prevalence as you age, that does not mean that it is normal and that you have to put up with it. Bladder leakage has become so normalized in our culture with temporary solutions (like wearing pads constantly), that it makes women question if their symptoms are fixable. Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it's normal!
Angela also says that the earlier you try to fix symptoms, the easier it is to find a solution because symptoms aren’t as ingrained and they don’t have as much potential to get worse. Fixing things and exploring potential solutions sooner rather than later can mitigate problems for years down the road, so it’s important to put yourself first and not be a bystander in your own health.
This episode is part of a 3-part series that concerns everything regarding the pelvic floor with guest Dr. Angela Turnow. If you want to learn more about the pelvic floor and the myths surrounding it, be sure to check out our recent podcast episode!