Pre & Postpartum Women's Health

The Day My Kegels Had Performance Anxiety

This is a story about the day my Kegels had performance anxiety. I’m thinking I’ve definitely got your attention now! First thing…let me set the scene. You see, I’ve been in need of Pelvic Physical Therapy for quite some time. And you may think to yourself…”what took so long for you to go?” I have no sane or logical reason. I work here. I know the benefits; it’s actually my JOB to know and promote that information. I have absolutely no excuse for not making myself an appointment. But I had this fear….an irrational fear mind you, and no it isn’t what you think. It wasn’t a fear of how an appointment might go or what an internal exam might be like, if needed. NO, my fear was of my co-workers seeing my V-A-G-I-N-A. Yes, they are trained medical professionals, and I trust them implicitly with my care. Yes, they’ve seen probably hundreds of vaginas, so one more ain’t no big deal to them. I knew all the reasons why I was being stupid, but for me, it was a weirdness level. Unlike my OB/GYN whom I see once, maybe twice a year, I see these therapists, my co-workers, every day. Needless to say it took me quite a while to get over that and realize that my health was more important than my modesty!

On my first visit, which was my evaluation, there was a good deal of discussion…my history, my symptoms, my concerns, my issues. I share this because if you’ve been on the fence about Pelvic PT, then you may be wondering how an appointment may go. Let me emphasize “may” because of course everyone is different. My PT, Lisa, and I talked about theories of what might be going on with my body and causing some of my issues. She did some manual work on my abdominal area and she gave me a heads up that she would like to do an internal examination next visit.

On my 2nd visit, she checked in with me about how I was feeling, what felt better since last time, what was the same, was anything worse? Then it was time…time to remove the lower half clothing and get under that sheet. (At least it was a sheet and not those terrible paper “sheets” they give you at the OB/GYN!) I lay there on the treatment table waiting for Lisa to come back in the room. It felt very familiar…the waiting…the discomfort of being without clothing from the waist down. I will say there are no stirrups at our Pelvic Health clinic so that was a relief. A knock at the door and Lisa came in. What I love about our therapists (and no, there is no bias here) is how professional they are! They are also funny and approachable and friendly, but I was struck in the next few moments at how professional they are and how Lisa made me feel at ease by explaining everything she was about to do, as she was about to do it. I began to relax and embrace the idea that this was going to help when nothing else had. I really felt quite confident in that moment…a “YES, I’m doing this” feeling!

So where do my kegels fit in? I’m sure you’re eager to know!

Well, during my internal exam, Lisa asked me to do a kegel. She wanted to see where I stood with my pelvic floor muscles. So “can you do a kegel?” she asked me. I mean, duh, of course I can. So I’m laying there and she’s like “did you do one yet?” Damn, yes, I thought I did. “Let me try again,” I say. “Anything?” I ask her. Well, she says that I might need to work on that. Mind you kegels are not necessarily for everyone. For years the idea of kegels has been drilled into our minds as women. Kegels for this…kegels for that. But sometimes kegels can do more harm than good. Because I work here, I know this. However, Lisa said that I could benefit from them, so she taught me a trick to work on them.

All I could think about was…what happened to my kegels? I know I can do them. I was frustrated by my obvious performance anxiety when it came to my kegels. Needless to say that the rest of the evening I found myself kegel-ing, without even trying sometimes. “Really?” was all I could think. My next appointment was with Meredith and I looked forward to proving to her that I could in fact perform a kegel. It wasn’t my best showing, but at least I did it and was able to demonstrate that I could. It’s definitely something I’m still working on!

I will say that everyone is different. Not everyone who comes for Pelvic PT will need an internal exam. Not everyone will need to work on their kegels. No two people are the same and that’s why our experts are specifically trained to know what you need during your therapy to get you back to, or for the first time, a pain free place.

I’m still a little self-conscious about my co-workers at the Pelvic clinic seeing my lady parts, but I continue to get over it, little by little. It’s definitely a “me” problem and not a “them” issue!!

I continue to be amazed at all of the issues that can be treated with Pelvic PT. If you have any question about whether it can help you or not, be sure to call the clinic at 256-513-8442 for more info!