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Poster by Dr. Vivienne Cass

A New Year's resolution for your pelvic floor health: learn your anatomy.

Have you ever looked at your genitalia in the mirror? Like REALLY looked at it?

One of the most empowering things you can do for your pelvic health is to take a look at yourself in the mirror and learn your anatomy.

Here is a quick primer on how to stay on top of what's going on down there, including tips on simple self examination and resources to find more information.

  • Perform a monthly self exam of your genitalia with a mirror and notice what’s your normal: color, size of structures, color of your secretions, smell, tissue texture, etc. Use your eyes to look and also your fingers to touch the different structures and become acquainted.
  • By giving yourself regular self-exams, you can be better aware of changes and be able to get support from your healthcare team sooner when things arise.
  • Learn where your structures are, including your clitoris, this can help you become more aware during sexual activity and more able to communicate what feels good and what doesn’t feel good to your partner. Is the left side of your clitoris more sensitive than the right? Does direct pressure over the urethra feel bad, but direct pressure over the clitoris feel good? In order to communicate what you want/need in sex, it’s helpful (I would argue mandatory) to actually know what specifically feels good to your body. It’s different for everyone and you are the best equipped to find out.
  • What does a normal vulva look like? They can look very different!
  • Check out The Labia Library for a photo gallery of different vulva: https://www.labialibrary.org.au/photo-gallery/
  • Check out @the.vulva.gallery on Instagram to see drawings of how different vulvas can look.

Need some support? Ask your gynecologist, women’s health nurse practitioner, or a pelvic floor therapist to help you go through a self exam.

Give us a call at Femina PT today!

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by R.D., age 38

"I had a severe tear during childbirth that was not stitched together correctly and therefore healed poorly. Even after having a surgery a year later to remove the scar tissue, I was still having pain, and no one could explain why -- there was no overt 'reason' to explain the pain. I had tried other 'specialists' and even saw another physical therapist who had me do hip / leg stretches -- what a joke! I was about to give up and just 'live with it' until thankfully I kept searching online and found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by R.D., age 38

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

Testimonial by R.S.

I wanted to thank you so much for helping me get through something I thought I may never be able to. We have achieved pain-free intercourse and this has really solidified our marriage. We are so grateful to you for all the work you do! Thank you!!

-- R.S.

Testimonial by T.H.

I started seeing Heather in October 2014. For more than two years, I had been suffering from painful urinary tract infection type symptoms after my bartholins gland surgery which included constant burning and urinary frequency sensation that led to more and more painful intercourse. I had made multiple visits to internist, obgyn and urologist's offices, went through a range of treatment with UTI and bladder frequency medication that included antibiotics, vesicare, estrogen cream, but nothing worked.

Read more: Testimonial by T.H.

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 P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

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