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Emotional Side of Urinary Incontinence, Childbirth Recovery, & Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Floor Doctor

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Amanda Olson,DPT, PRPC

In this video,'s Dr. Amanda Olson, certified pelvic floor rehabilitation therapist, discusses the emotional impact of dealing with urinary incontinence, recovery from childbirth, and pelvic organ prolapse. Dr. Olson says that it's perfectly normal to feel frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment, or even hope, as these emotions are typical when dealing with these challenges. In fact, Dr. Olson has not only seen women experiencing these emotions in the clinic but also among her friends and even experienced them herself - especially in the wake of an accident she suffered after falling off a 40-foot cliff into a river, where she sustained some serious damage to her pelvic floor. If that wasn't enough, she then went on to have two children through natural childbirth!

Dr. Olson says that it's important to show yourself some grace as you go through the process of pelvic floor rehabilitation. You wouldn't ridicule someone for not being able to bench press a certain amount of weight, so don't ridicule yourself if you have trouble tolerating a certain level of pelvic floor exercise, such as a heavier Kegel weight. You might feel tempted to start somewhere in the middle of the weight range, for example, but Dr. Olson always recommends that everyone always starts with the lightest weight instead. This helps you avoid feelings of disappointment if you can't tolerate a higher weight at first. The important part to keep in mind is that using any weight will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles if you use them consistently over time, regardless of how heavy it might be - progress doesn't happen overnight, so be kind and gracious to yourself during the process!

Even if you can't tolerate the lightest weight in the vaginal weight set, Dr. Olson implores you not to become frustrated with yourself. If even this lightest weight falls out while you're standing up, you can begin working with it in a sitting position as this provides the pelvic floor with the necessary reinforcement to work on getting stronger. Soon you'll be able to tolerate walking around with the lighter weight, and then it will be time to try the next one up. But that's not the only source of frustration you might encounter; imagine how it feels to have a pelvic floor issue but you're fully capable of using the heaviest weight in the set! In these cases, adding some water-based lubricant to the weight can make it more challenging. You can also add some motion, such as light exercise, to increase the challenge, as long as you don't exceed 10 to 15 minutes with the weight in.

The bottom line, says Dr. Olson, is that there can be a lot of emotions that surface when undergoing pelvic floor therapy, especially if you're not progressing as quickly as you like. She urges patience, reminds you that therapy is a process, and that she and the rest of is there to help you along the way.