I get a lot of questions about discussing pelvic floor issues with your doctor.
As a Doctor of Physical Therapy with my own practice that does not accept insurance, I don't have to have a referral from a Medical Doctor (MD) to see my clients (whooooo!)
But clients that haven't found me online or been referred by a friend are likely being referred by an MD or Midwife.
This is why it's SO important to have an open dialogue with your doctor!
Let's be honest, many people have anxiety going to the doctor (or any healthcare provider). So much so, that White Coat Syndrome is actually a thing when it comes to reading blood pressures. White Coat Syndrome is when your blood pressure is only high when you're at the doctor's office!
So, it's understandable that you might not be super excited to delve into the depths of painful intercourse or pee leaks.
You might even forget to breach issues like pelvic pain, back pain, pee leaks or heaviness in the vaginal area with your doc during prenatal visits because, there are so many other important things to go over!
And let's face it, most women get one postpartum visit with their doc. Just one!
Given these factors, it is no wonder pelvic issues fly under the radar. Unfortunately, the result is women dealing with their pelvic floor issues, that are both preventable and fixable, for YEARS AND YEARS! (Yes the caps are necessary here).
I want all women to come and see me before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and after birth. I also want to see women regularly for annual check ups.
But the reality is that at this point in time, you are more likely to see your doctor than a pelvic floor physical therapist on a regular basis.
So, how to bring these issues up with your doc?
The answer is, just do it.
Medicine is not nearly as patriarchal as it was even 20 years ago. The culture is changing and your concerns about your pelvic issues are more likely to be taken seriously by your doctor now more than ever!
So please bring them up. You doctor is there to help you and she WILL. And if for some reason you don't get the referral to pelvic floor physical therapy, make sure you ask!
Here's another reason women don't bring up their pelvic floor issues to their doc - they have tried in the past and were not believed or listened to.
Historically women with pelvic pain have been completely dismissed by the healthcare system. If you're a woman that is living with Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, or pain with sex, you know what I mean.
If often takes years for these chronic pain syndromes to be diagnosed, and many women feel like they have not been heard, believed, and essentially dismissed from the healthcare system all together.
And that's true. And they have! There's research that shows it!
But that doesn't mean you should give up. There are providers out there that care about you, want to help, and can help. It sucks to have to advocate for yourself when faced with a provider that doesn't take you seriously, but trust me, we are out here! So if you find yourself in that situation, make sure your book your next appointment with a different provider!
My advice for showing up to your doctor's office with sleep-deprived mommy-brain is to make a list in advance of the issues you would like to address. If you know you have your appointment scheduled, start making a list in your phone of questions you have as they pop into your brain throughout the day.
It's not weird at all to sit there and read them to your doctor. She has the time and patience for you and she wants to know what's bothering you!
Alright, that's my advice for talking to your doc about your pelvic floor issues. The advice is:
Talk to your doc!
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