I am heading home from what was supposed to be a movie date with BF1 because my muscles are spasmy, tight, and painful. I hate it when they get like this, and I can feel the pain and tightness when I walk. The dilator didn’t glide right in this morning either.
We’re heading home where BF1 will cuddle me, we’ll watch a movie, and I’ll have some Scotch and use my myofascial ball. But damn.
My belly has been hurry on and off for several days. Yesterday was bad, today is better. My solar plexus has been very sore, something I’ll ask L about when I see her later this week. Last night, I was spasmy just above my pubic bone, and BF1 thought he was seeing some spasm in my back muscles, too.
Today I am wearing my negative-heeled shoes, which may be helpful. I also automatically positioned myself well as I sat in the car, before I even thought about it. Victory!
Still slightly periody, so at least there’s a clear cause of the discomfort, and a very obvious correlation between a more reactive pelvic floor and the abdominal discomfort.
I got my period last night! This means two things:
1) That things feeling tighter isn’t a backslide, and there’s a reason and common denominator behind this (I got a period last time my pelvic floor got tighter and abdominal issues reared up, too).
2) That there really isn’t a backslide, because it’s been less tight and painful, with lesser abdominal issues than last time I had a period. So this is actually real progress.
My abdomen got super crampy in the car this morning. I adjusted my posture, and shortly thereafter, it got WAY better. Direct correlation? I’ve been watching it today, not tucking my tailbone, especially when I sit, and it hasn’t been bad.
I thought this morning of this bit I heard on the The Liberated Body podcast with Judith Hanson Lasater:
“When you stand with a normal lumbar curve, the viscera or organs. Jean Pierre Barral has a theory about a visceral column and spinal column and they support one another. When we tuck the tailbone the organs fall down onto the prostate, the bladder, and the uterus which I think contributes to prolapse for women, and I have a theory that it affects prostate issues as well.”
Is that part of the connection between my pelvic floor and abdomen, and why my abdomen gets upset when I have a period and am tucking my tailbone? I hadn’t thought of that before, but it definitely makes sense.
I was reading this and thinking about how tight my pelvic floor muscles are. Katy says, “The action of the pelvic floor muscle, like every muscle, is position and load-dependent. If this muscle group was “designed to be in constant contraction” then when we laid down it would be generating the same force with a smaller load, which should not be happening in muscle.” Mine are as tight lying down as they are when I stand, I think. Their default position is contraction.
I’ve been getting better at being mindful of this lately. I think of it many times a day, and I’m getting better at keeping them relaxed for longer periods of time when I do think of it. It used to last about ten second before I paid the slightest bit of attention to anything else, and then they’d default to their “tight and lifted” state.
So I’m improving that end of it quite a lot. I still need to do more reading on how to engage and strengthen my glutes appropriately so they provide the proper counter-balance to my pelvic floor. Once I get the sitting worked out a little, that will probably be my next focus. More squatting, it appears.
About a five-minute video with biomechanist Katy Bowman about the plevic floor:
Pelvic Floor Demystified
So perhaps it is time for more glute work in my world.
Written 11 days ago
Things in my vagina these days:
-Possibly my new myofascial release therapist, who can also do intravaginal release
-Valium (no shit, I have vaginal Valium that gets inserted to help my too-tight pelvic floor muscles chill the fuck OUT already. Yes, I immediately texted several friends as soon as my specialist prescribed it with, “You’ll never guess what I got just prescribed!” texts.)
-Dilators (I have two, primarily use the larger one, and will likely be moving up to the extra large on my next PT visit)
-My partners (my favorite things to have in my vagina!)
It’s kind of amazing what a happening place my vagina is right now, and how much I’m paying for it. Isn’t that supposed to work the other way around?
In other news, I am considering starting a blog about my pelvic floor dysfunction and the process around healing that. I need space to talk about it (and am lucky to have partners and friends who listen patiently to my vaginal healing exploits), and I suspect it might help others to see what that process can look like.
And on the plus side, I think I am thoroughly done with the shame around this. I know more people who have/had pelvic floor dysfunction than I’d realized, it has a lot to do with shit endemic to our culture, and it is never and never was any sort of personal failing. It’s an intense medical process I’m undergoing now to get it all healthy, and I think I finally exorcized what used to be a considerable amount of shame around all of this. So I’m good, and if you hear me mention this stuff in passing, and potentially in public, don’t be surprised or shocked. It’s where a huge portion of my time and energy and money are going these days, and it’s a big focus in my life. And what’s more important than getting myself healthy?
Written about a month ago
I’m four sessions into PT. Within a session or two, I started really locating the source of my issues; I think I had been noticing less specifically where the pain was occurring and having some referred pain. I feel like I have a much better sense of what the muscular problems are and where.
I am responding well to PT. The muscles are definitely relaxing more. I use dilators and a Therawand at home, have thigh stretches, do some light myofascial work on my stomach, and am supposed to squat several times a day to help relax my pelvic floor (I typically forget this but finally set phone reminders for myself four times a day, which should help significantly). My muscles are definitely less reactive, I’ve found better ways to adjust when I need to, and everything hurts less when it does get tight.
The session I had yesterday, she worked on some of the areas with surface issues (vs the muscular problems). Apparently the tissue underneath those super sensitive raw areas is really thick. She held several spots, which was uncomfortable, but then they released. It’s the first time I think I’ve really felt like this might actually resolve the entire issue in the long run, including all the surface irritation. I’m pretty amazed; I didn’t know that could happen.
I’ve also discovered Katy Bowman, thanks to a friend. She’s a biomechanist who talks a lot about the pelvic floor, among other things (apparently 80% of women have pelvic floor issues at some point during their lives. 80%). I’m working on changing my shoes and my overall movement patterns to support health in my pelvic floor and my whole body. Its also given me an avenue to see how this might have developed, without any underlying emotional trauma, and to help support my continued healing.
All of this is pricey, and my insurance doesn’t cover it. But I feel like this is a good use of some of the savings I have. I’m happy about my progress, and pretty excited about maybe finally getting my nether regions to a truly healthy state.