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Lifting and Your Pelvic Floor
Photo: Getty Images / People Images
When Well + Good author Gabrielle Kassel was writing an article about lifting and your pelvic floor she reached out to me for my insights. Here is a brief synopsis of the article along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

While pelvic floor dysfunction is not ideal for anyone—after all, these deep stabilizer muscles support sexual function, bladder and bowel control, sound posture, plus arm and leg power, among other tasks—for people who like to pick things up and put them down (i.e. lift weights), it can lead to improper movement mechanics, as well as leakage mid-lift.

So if you regularly hit the weight room with the goal of getting stronger, doctor of physical therapy Corey Hazama, DPT, an expert with Pelvic Gym, a pelvic health education platform, says properly strengthening and engaging your pelvic floor is as important as any other muscle group you’re training. Below are six things you should know about the pelvic floor and its function if you lift —including exactly how to brace your core and breathe while strength training in order to optimize your efforts and avoid injury.

1. First things first: Everyone has a pelvic floor

Before diving into the specific relationship between lifting and the pelvic floor, let’s get on the same page about who has pelvic floors. Spoiler alert: all of us. As Dr. Hazama explains, your pelvic floor is a collection of 14 muscles that stretch from the tailbone to the pubic bone, and hip to hip sort of like a trampoline or hammock. They are not sex specific.

The only difference amongst people of different sexes is which organs the pelvic floor muscles support, according to doctor of physical therapy Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, author of Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve. For instance, if you have a uterus, that will be one of the organs this muscle group supports, otherwise the organ line-up will include your bladder, small bowel, and rectum, she says.

Continue reading the full article here at the Well + Good website.

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Testimonial by Carolina J.

I had tried Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy before (with another PT) and I had a really bad (painful) experience. A friend of mine and fellow patient, told me about Heather, Laureen and Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) and I decided to try again. I am so happy I did! Femina PT have, literally, changed my life. I was able to do again things I couldn't do for over 10 years!! Their bedside manners are impeccable, their knowledge and understanding make me feel comfortable to recommend this place to anyone in pain. Specially if you have Endometriosis. 100% recommended!!

-- Carolina J., 12/28/16 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.

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 Amanda W.

Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

-- Amanda W., 2/15/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

I would like to start off by thanking Heather Jeffcoat for educating me and curing me of Vaginismus. I had been married for almost three years before I was referred to Heather. I never knew about Vaginismus until almost three years into my marriage. I knew something was wrong when I went on my honeymoon and came back a Virgin. I had always imagined how magical my first night would be but boy was I wrong.

Read more: Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

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