Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Betty White is Brillant!

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's all about the bum

I have talked quite a bit in the past about tucking in your bum, and how this is actually detrimental to pelvic floor health in women.  There is a great article about this topic that I wanted to share, enjoy!

The Junkless Trunk

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The TMJ is attached to the PF, The PF is attached to the...

I have an amazing chiropractor that I have been seeing for 20 years... YIKES that makes me old!  When I first went to see him it was following a horse back riding accident that left me with the whole right side of my face squished in, and my jaw so damaged I had been living on a liquid diet for months.  He helped me heal my TMJ disorder, but as with pelvic floor disorders, TMJ is more of a life long management issue than a problem that can be fixed.

Over the years I have continued to see him when my TMJ disorder warranted it, plus whenever I had any other issues requiring a good "cracking".

The last few years my TMJ disorder has been surprisingly good.  Moments of pain, but for the most part my jaw was not a major issue (perhaps having organs falling out of your body gave me a new focus?).

Then, a little over 2 weeks ago I went to the dentist for a cleaning.  I knew at the time that she was taking a VERY long time and putting a lot of pressure on my jaw, but I thought I could handle it.  Boy was I wrong.  I did not sleep for the next 3 days the pain was so bad.  Even the most powerful painkillers and muscle relaxants did not provide me with any relief (except making my stomach upset!)  I finally caved and went to my chiropractor.  We have been pretty much going steady for the last 2 weeks.  Sadly our visits involve a lot of pain infliction on me.  Not exactly my idea of a great courtship.

As we have tried to sort through the jaw issues, I have learned how much influence this delicate area has on so many functions.  My cognition and mental acuity has been affected, I have had hearing loss, vision issues, muscles are doing strange things, and I am exhausted.  So exhausted.  Then this past weekend I experienced severe abdominal and pelvic floor pain.  Not my normal prolapse pain, more localized to the front and a constant pain, not a dull ache. 

Turns out as the jaw is going through its adjustments, it is pulling and shifting around on my whole body.  As evidenced by my horrid posture at the moment.  I try so hard to get straight, but it is pretty much impossible for me right now to straighten up and hold a correct posture.  One of the areas my jaw is "attached" to, and pulling on, is my transverse abdominals and pelvic floor.

So yesterday, in the middle of a very chaotic and busy first day of school for both my boys, I went to the chiropractor for another hot date and he did this thing where he pressed on the attachment points on the inside of my hips, waited for them to release, then yanked on my leg. 

I cried.  It hurt so badly when he was pressing on the inside of my hips.  I cried.

Last night the muscles on the insides of my legs gave out so I could barely walk.

Today I feel like I have been run over by a truck and my head hurts so badly.

This courtship is going downhill fast. 

Happily, in the face of all of this pain and discomfort, I can feel my body healing and getting back in balance, but it is a process.  A very long and difficult process.  My chiro warned me on our first date two weeks ago that this was going to be a rough go. 

Damn, I hate it when he is right. 

Between this and the whole craziness of having both my boys starting new schools right now, postings will be a bit sparse.  Hope everyone is having a nice end of summer.  :)

I wanted to say a quick note to everyone from Prolapse Health that has sent me notes and messages, thank you so much for all the kind words.  My current health issues are sapping all my energy.  I did not mean to leave things so abruptly, my intention was to simply step back, but right now I do not have the energy to return to the boards.  Maybe once I am through this health issue and getting my boys settled into school I will pop back in, but for now, I am very thankful for all the kind words.  It really has meant a lot to me.  Blessings to all of you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

C-Sections and Pelvic Organ Prolapse

I know this is a VERY touchy subject for a lot of people.  I get it, the answers are not simple, yet sometimes people make it sound simple, "Get a c-section, prevent POP!", and this angers and frustrates some people.

The thing is, the research is quite overwhelming, elective c-sections, when done at the right time (before labour starts), significantly reduce the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.  More and more research is proving what women have known for years, the number one trigger for the prolapse of pelvic organs is vaginal birth.  Lots of factors play a role, but vaginal birth is absolutely the most common cause.  To ignore this fact is not doing anyone a favour.

C-sections have their own risk.  Absolutely they do.  It is surgery, major abdominal surgery.  But, from my perspective, if I had that one, very common and safe surgery, I would not be facing multiple, high risk surgeries for the rest of my life.  From my very informal, and totally unscientific survey on this blog, it appears most women agree with me.  They would prefer a c-section over a lifetime of prolapse issues and surgeries. 

The scary statistic to me is how many women I know that are having surgery in their 30's and 40's for POP.  This is definitely no longer a postmenopausal issue, and the surgery options are not nearly as simple or effective as a c-section.  In fact, all the surgeons I have spoken with, say that almost all POP surgeries will need to be repeated numerous times.  This fact alone says so much to me about where the true risk factors lie for some women.

Like all conditions I firmly believe PREVENTION should be high on everyone's list. Pelvic Organ Prolapse is a life altering condition that can never be fully corrected, even with surgery.  Once you have it, your life is forever altered. Preventing it in the first place should be the focus. Sadly too many women and medical professionals view POP as inevitable.  This does not have to be the case.  Many cases could be prevented.  Things like education, physiotherapy (during pregnancy to prepare the body), plus screening and possible elective c-sections for high risk patients, could all reduce the risk. 

I am copying the following with permission from Dr. Murphy, since I find this type of information so important and I do not want to misinterpret any of the details.:

I just came across an excellent research paper out of Sweden, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in January of this year.

Sweden has an excellent research reputation, partly as a result of a homogeneous population, but also because of the national healthcare system making excellent and inclusive registries possible.

This study looked at the risk of requiring surgery for prolapse or stress urinary incontinence up to thirty years after childbirth. They looked at women who had only vaginal deliveries and compared them with women who had only cesarean deliveries. One thing they did NOT do, was separate emergency cesareans from elective, planned cesareans. As we've clearly demonstrated in our upcoming book 'Choosing Cesarean; A Natural Birth Plan', emergency cesarean causes significantly more injury than planned cesarean. SO, the findings of this study would likely be even more significant if the vaginal delivery group was compared to a purely elective cesarean group.

Regardless, the findings were absolutely mind boggling. Here are just a few statistics:

In spite of what was believed in some circles, each successive vaginal delivery increases the risk for prolapse and incontinence, not just the first delivery. Women with three deliveries had double the risk for incontinence surgery and three times the risk for prolapse surgery.

After three vaginal deliveries, the risk was 5-fold higher for incontinence surgery and 20-fold (2000% increase!) higher for prolapse surgery, compared to women who had three cesareans.

For women who had only cesarean deliveries, the rate of incontinence and prolapse surgery did not rise with more cesareans, but actually decreased with successive births. This would indicate that pregnancy ITSELF, which as always been argued to be a major independant risk factor (and one of the most beloved arguments against prophylactic cesarean), is NOT a major factor in the risk of SUI and POP.
Instrumental deliveries were found to be major risk factors, as I've pointed out repeatedly here and elsewhere (including my book: 'Pelvic Health & Childbirth'). Vacuum was not too surprisingly, again found to be safer from the pelvic floor aspect, than forceps. After one forceps delivery, the risk for having prolapse surgery was double than those having vacuum or noninstrumental vaginal delivery, and 20 times (2000% higher!) that for cesarean (and again, this did not look only at elective cesarean).

This study looked at the risk for having surgery, thus not at those women who developed prolapse or SUI but not reporting for treatment. One would thus expect that the real burden of disease in the community is even higher and the 'real' significance of the difference in long term pelvic floor health even greater.

M Murphy

It is too late for me, but I wish there was more focus on prevention of this life long condition.  Not just c-sections, but in finding ways to help protect women so they can give birth vaginally more safely.  It seems to me too many people get caught up in the mesh/no mesh debates, and surgery vs natural arguments.  What about prevention?  Why can there not be more research into preventing this condition and making vaginal births more safe?

Monday, August 29, 2011

A little natural balance

The last week or so has been rough for me. 

I am battling some medical issues which have me in doctor's offices daily. 

Both my boys are starting school for the first time right away and my emotions are all over the place.  One minute I am excited, then scared, then worried, then my biggest issue - feeling overwhelmed.  My school runs are insane and quite literally impossible.  I have no idea how I am going to get through my days.  Life is about to change completely for my little family, and I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions over it.  It would be fair to say panic is a big part of my life at the moment.

Then the issues over the whole board moderator thing which was a complete mess, and I wish I had just followed my gut (and my hubby's opinion, darn he is smart!) and not gotten involved.  Oh well, live and learn.

Then my dog got sick, then my cat.

Oh and due to my medical issues, I have been unable to work out in days, and even driving is not smart for me unless absolutely necessary. 

So yeah, not a good week.

Then yesterday, in the midst of some of the worst pain I have had in a while, I won a custom cake prize package (just in time for my youngest son's birthday), and I won two beautiful pieces of jewelry at auction from Gandhara Designs.  During the afternoon I was able to complete a painting project I have been wanting to do for years.  I probably should have waited, physically it was not the smartest choice, but mentally it was exactly what I needed.  Especially when hubby followed it up with some ice cream, YUM! 

The next few weeks are going to be rough, but it was nice to have a day that had some fun and excitement to help give me the push I need to get through it all. 

I really believe we are given what we need, and yesterday things settled a bit for me.  It was good.  A nice little touch of natural balance.

Oh and my son is going to have the COOLEST cake ever!!  :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A letter to myself

Dear Postpartum Me - 5 Years Ago,

I know you are so stressed right now, your heart is beating a million miles a minute, and I know the fear that is clutching at you.  Even from this distance I can still remember the feel of those claws of fear digging in.  To be honest, there are moments when those claws reach out for me even now.   

You just had your beautiful baby boy a few months ago.  He is gorgeous with spiky black hair and blond tips.

Right now it is hard, your beautiful little boy is so cute, but you are hurting so much, more than you have ever hurt in your life.  The birth aftermath hurts more than even labour hurt.

I know your labour did not go as you wished.  That beautiful boy, well he got stuck and they finally had to rip him from your body.  It saved his life (and yours as you will come to realize one day), but now your body is damaged in ways you did not even know were possible.

I know the words Pelvic Organ Prolapse are scary.  I know those buldges are also scary, but please do not let this consume you.  Do not let anger, bitterness or frustration become your sheild in life. 

See this moment is a defining moment in your life.  In part due to this diagnosis you are going to pursue an amazing, life altering journey to your second son.  Your life path will be forever altered for the better.  I know it does not seem that way right now, but trust me.  I have seen the future, and it is good.

Do not let this get you down.  Do not let the anger, bitterness or frustration get the better of you.  You are better than this.  You are stronger than this.

It will be hard in so many ways, but I know you.  I have faith in you.  You will come away from this stronger, better and more beautiful than before. 

One day, when you are at your lowest years from now, you will even discover new ways of caring for your body that will significantly reduce your symptoms.  It is possible.  Have faith in your body.

Life is good.  Focus on the good, believe in your own power.  Let go and trust that all that happens is for the greater good.  You may not understand it now, but take a breath, let it go, and trust that it is good.  One day the bigger picture will be revealed.

A smooth journey will never challenge you, it is boring, and will not push you to keep pursuing that which makes life better.  This part of the path is rough, it has lots of twists, turns and branches.  But the view from the other end is worth it.  Push on, one foot in front of the other, and keep your eyes on the horizon. 

Hang in there. I love you and our little wayward child of a uterus. It may not seem like it, but this experience is a blessing.  It makes you better.

Let these words guide you and be your inspiration:

I let go and I trust that all that happens is for the greater good.  My path is before me, I can not see the end, but I move forward with confidence and peace.  Knowing that life is not about fairness it is about kindness and love.  It is about holding on to this moment, and living in this moment as though it may be your last.  Life is not about promises or warranties.  I do not know what tomorrow holds or if it will even come.  I can only live for the now, and in this moment be the absolute best me I can be.  I will keep one eye on the path ahead of me, but my focus will be here and now.  I will let my trust and faith guide my feet down this path, knowing that if I always chose kindness and love I will live life with no regrets.  I let go and I trust.

Lots of love, see you in 5 years.

Me today, remembering me then.