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Bowl of colorful fruit with whole grain toast
Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

It’s that time of year when many of us are considering a diet change as a New Year’s Resolution. But with all of the wildly different diets out there, don’t let your new diet affect your pelvic floor health negatively.

Avoid Constipation

Constipation can contribute to pelvic pain, risk of prolapse, back pain, and pain with sex, among other issues.

As we’ve written about on this blog before, managing constipation is one of the cornerstones for maintaining pelvic health, especially if you suffer from pelvic pain, prolapse, or pain with sex. Constipation will lead to storage of old stool in the colon, which can contribute to pelvic, abdominal, and back pain. This added pressure can lead to pelvic floor tension and contribute to issues like pelvic pain and pelvic floor spasms. Last, but not least, constipation leads to straining on the toilet, which greatly increases your risk for issues like pelvic organ prolapse (read more about prolapse in this previous post).

To avoid constipation, try the following tips:

  • Exercise. Motion is lotion! Approximately 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular activity can help improve motility of intestinal waste.
  • Massage your belly. Abdominal lymphatic massage– a self-care technique we teach at the clinic, it is used to decrease the edema and bloat in the belly caused by IBS issues, constipation, loose stools, and pelvic pain.
  • Drink water! Your GI system needs water to keep things moving. Drink approximately 64 oz daily.
  • Take care of your body tissues. Stretch daily, use a foam roller to release tight spots and mobilize connective tissue, get monthly massages.

Eat Enough Fiber

What is fiber?

  • Fiber we get from our diet comes from plant cells we ingest which cannot be broken down by enzymes in the human digestive tract. The fiber helps us form healthy and easy to pass stools, which contribute to pelvic health. In fact, in a 2008 study by Shariati, Maceda, and Hale, they found that 1 cup of high fiber cereal daily helped study participants improve their pelvic floor function and bowel regularity. For stools that are easy to pass and healthy for the pelvic floor, it is important to have both types of: water-soluble and water insoluble.

  • Soluble Fiber
    Water-soluble fibers absorb water during digestion and help increase stool bulk and can help “gel” soft or watery stools. Soluble fiber may also decrease blood cholesterol levels. Find soluble in fruits (apples, peaches, pears), vegetables, legumes (dry beans, lentils and peas), barley, oats and oat bran.

  • Insoluble Fiber
    Water-insoluble fibers remain unchanged during digestion and help movement and motility of your stool through the GI tract. Find insoluble fiber in the edible peel or seeds of fruits and vegetables, in whole grain products (such as whole-wheat bread, pasta and crackers), bulgur wheat, stone ground corn meal, cereals, bran, rolled oats, buckwheat and brown rice.

How much fiber should you be eating?

The American Heart Association recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. The average adult in the United States has about 15 grams of fiber a day. That's about half the recommended amount.

Some Tips To Increase Dietary Fiber

  • High Fiber Cereal— In a 2008 study by Shariati, Maceda, and Hale, they found that 1 cup of high fiber cereal daily was enough to help study participants improve their pelvic floor function and bowel regularity.
  • Whole Grains- Try to include at least one serving of whole grain in every meal. Use whole-wheat flour when possible in your cooking and baking. Cook with brown rice instead of white rice. If the switch is hard to make, start by mixing them together.
  • Beans- Add kidney beans, garbanzos or other bean varieties to your salads or soups. Dip veggies into hummus or a white bean dip.
  • Fruits and Veggies – Try adding a green smoothie to your diet to increase your intake of fruits and veggies : 1 ½ c. spinach, kale or dark greens; 1 c almond milk; 3 TBS ground flax seed; 1 banana; ½ cup or frozen berries.

And as always, if you need any help with your pelvic floor, please don’t hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment today.

Resources

Shariati A, Maceda JS, Hale DS. High-fiber diet for treatment of constipation in women with pelvic floor disorders. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Apr;111(4):908-13. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000308660.48204.7f. PMID: 18378750.

Arya LA, Novi JM, Shaunik A, Morgan MA, Bradley CS. Pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, and dietary fiber intake in women: a case-control study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005 May;192(5):1687-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.11.032. PMID: 15902178.

UCSF Health: Increasing Fiber Intake (2020).

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing-fiber-intake#:~:text=Total%20dietary%20fiber%20intake%20should,about%20half%20the%20recommended%20amount.

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Who gets vaginal dryness?

Women can have vaginal dryness for a variety of reasons and at any age. Dryness is most common after menopause due to the loss of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

Vaginal dryness occurs due to hormonal changes after menstruation, pregnancy, breast feeding, peri-menopause and menopause. It can also occur as a side-effect of taking certain medications, such as birth control, acne meds, antidepressants, antihistamines and fertility treatments.

  • Mae is a 100% natural, body-friendly vaginal suppository used to moisturize the vagina from the inside.
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  • Each package of Mae comes with 10 individually wrapped suppositories.

Is Mae natural?

Mae's all-natural formulation contains no water or alcohol, both of which dehydrate the delicate mucous membrane of the vagina over time. Instead, Mae contains emollient plant butters for silky lubrication. As Mae has no water, there is no need to add harmful chemical preservatives. Mae has a shelf-life of 5 years based on extensive laboratory studies.

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Is Mae safe to use with condoms?

Mae is not safe with latex condoms. Non-latex condoms are available at your local drugstore.

How long do I need to use Mae?

Mae takes a few weeks for most women to obtain results. However Mae’s all natural composition makes it suitable for long-term use.

Is Mae tested on animals?

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Does Mae have any preservatives?

No, Mae does not have any chemical preservatives.

We named our heroine product Mae because of all the Maes who inspire us such as Mae Jameson and Mae West. We especially love Mae West’s cheeky humor! Did you know that she was arrested for writing a Broadway play, Sex, in 1927? We salute all the Maes in our lives.

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by M.M.

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

My husband and I were married for 5 years before we were able to have intercourse due to my vaginismus. There was nothing traumatic in my past but for some reason, even though I wanted sex, I mentally avoided "that area" of my body and didn't even admit to myself that there was a problem for a long time, even though I was never able to put tampons in. Once I finally opened my eyes up to the fact that I had a problem, I had a surgery that was supposed to fix the issue.

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by T.C.

While pregnant with my twins, Heather took care with keeping me on my feet and pain free. She saved my back, my sanity and the holidays! I would recommend her to every “mom” looking to stay on her feet during pregnancy and post-partum.

-- T.C.

Testimonial by S.B.

As someone who suffered the debilitating physical and emotional effects of vaginismus (as well as a complicated history of back injuries) for more than 15 years, I thought a "normal" life was just a fantasy. Then I found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by S.B.

Testimonial by Rosanna R., age 35

Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

Sex wasn't just painful, it was literally impossible - IT DIDNT FIT!

Read more: Testimonial by Rosanna R.,...

Testimonial by S.B.

As someone who suffered the debilitating physical and emotional effects of vaginismus (as well as a complicated history of back injuries) for more than 15 years, I thought a "normal" life was just a fantasy. Then I found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by S.B.

Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

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