Introducing the Pelvic Floor Pathway

In my province we have something called the Pelvic Floor Pathway. It’s a referral-based publicly-funded health care service for women experiencing pelvic floor weakness, urinary and/or fecal incontinence, and prolapses among other symptoms.

A few years back, my province declared war on surgical wait times. The experts looked at surgeries with long waiting lists – knee/hip, back, gynaecological etc – and tried to figure out how to reduce these massive waiting lists by fast tracking some people out of the surgery pipeline. In the case of gyne surgeries, it was found that a number of women’s issues could be resolved through lifestyle changes and/or physiotherapy. And so the Pelvic Floor Pathway (PFP) was created.

It’s genius, really, the first introduction to this service is a one-hour presentation with a bunch of other women who also have issues with their lady parts. The shame and stigma and embarrassment that many women, myself included, feel when things down there just aren’t right. I talk openly about shitting and farting and vaginas because I have never heard any woman, my mother included, talk candidly and honestly about pelvic floor dysfunction. We just don’t do it.

I mean, shit, I didn’t even know women had perineums until I was missing half of mine from a botched stitch job after my first baby. I knew that guys had perineums because who hasn’t heard a joke about a taint before. Or maybe that’s just me and my bad self.

So there I am, with my new human who is 5.5 weeks old and REFUSING TO SLEEP and then craps his pants OF COURSE, with about 50 other ladies sitting, chilling, learning about stuff. Stuff like the optimal position in which to take a shit (SPOILER: it isn’t sitting on the toilet. See the video below), what it feels like when different bits of your insides prolapse, and how to feel your pelvic floor.

We all get to manhandle a pessary and, much like a baby the first time around, “all I could think was “how in the actual fuck will that even fit?” Suppose it must. Different sizes too. Not exactly sure how the doctor gets ruler up there to measure the space for the pessary.

Most pessaries look like something you use to hang your shower curtain.

Anyway, since I was Super Keener and sat in the front row – also known as the new mom with a nursing baby escape hatch – I unknowingly sat beside the clinic’s admin assistant who was there to book appointments. She asked when, I said as fast as humanly possible. She had me at “how about tomorrow morning at 10.”

I’ll keep you posted.

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