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Heather Jeffcoat at Buzzfeed
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questions you are too embarrassed to ask
Yulia Lisitsa / Getty Images/iStockphoto
When Buzzfeed journalist Shelby Heinrich did a deep dive with her readership into the "questions you are too embarrassed to ask", I was honored to help. There were 15 questions in all, and here is a brief synopsis of the article, along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

Questions You Are Too Embarrassed To Ask When it Comes to "Down There"

We asked the BuzzFeed Community if they ever had a question about ~down there~ that they might be too embarrassed or intimidated to ask, and they came through with lots of insightful questions! So, we reached out to Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a licensed pelvic floor physical therapist and owner of Femina Physical Therapy in Los Angeles, to answer your pelvic health inquiries.

Here is a sampling of the questions you are too embarrassed to ask:

1. "Why do I have to pee so often? I barely drink any liquids throughout the day, because otherwise I’d be peeing even more than I already am."

Dr. Jeffcoat:

Patients will often tell me they restrict their fluid intake in order to reduce their urinary frequency, and are surprised when they have to pee more often. This happens because when you restrict your fluid intake, your urine becomes more concentrated, which acts as an irritant to your bladder, much in the same way that alcohol, and spicy or acidic food and drink will affect your bladder.

5."How can I stop having painful penetrative sex, and would a pelvic floor therapist help? If so, do I need a referral from my OB-GYN to see one?"

Dr. Jeffcoat:

A pelvic floor physical therapist is a crucial part of your care team if you're experiencing painful penetrative sex. Many states allow Direct Access for receiving a physical therapy evaluation and treatment. However, most offices that specialize in pelvic health still require medical clearance from a physician, since pelvic health specialists can’t test for infection, hormonal insufficiencies, or other medical causes of your pain. Many patients will come to my office and say, "My doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me," which usually means the muscles and tissue in the area are contributing to the problem. This is exactly what a pelvic floor physical therapist will address.

11."I have difficulty urinating after sex, since I'm unable to get my body to relax enough to release anything. I know I’m supposed to urinate after, but is there anything I can do if I physically cannot urinate until much later? Is there anything I can do to try to relax my urethra enough to be able to pee?"

Dr. Jeffcoat:

Try taking the focus away from your urethra, and instead focus on general relaxation. You can do this while sitting on the toilet:

  1. Place your hands on the sides of your ribs. Take in a slow, five-second inhale. As you inhale, feel your ribs expand toward your hands. Visualize your lungs filling up with air and pushing your diaphragm downward.
  2. Hold your breath for two seconds.
  3. Slowly exhale for six to seven seconds.
  4. Repeat step 1, but now add the visual on the inhale of your pelvic floor muscles dropping and getting soft or heavy (whatever visual seems most relaxing to you). Don't tell your muscles to “relax," as that rarely works.
  5. Hold your breath for two seconds.

For answers to more of the questions you are too embarrassed to ask, click here to continue to the full article.

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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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 J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

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 Jackie W.

I was in multiple car accidents a decade ago, and I have been to many physical therapists through the years without success. They found the root of my lower back pain problems and after nearly a decade of barely being able to walk I finally can again without pain. They are also the best pelvic floor pts and the only ones who found the connection between my pelvic floor and lower back problems. If you need help with physical pain, they are your answer.

-- Jackie W., 1/19/17 via Yelp!

Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

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