My Pelvic Health Journey

Posted By: Michelle Logan Member Spotlight,

My journey with pelvic floor physical therapy began a few years before I started PT school. I was completing shadowing hours with a phenomenal company in Greenville, SC.  They had 1 pelvic floor therapist at the time and I remember asking the clinician I was paired with what that was. He gave me a brief description and advocated for me to gain exposure in this setting. This brought me to a Regional Hospital where I was able to see about 40 hours of pelvic floor therapy. I was more than grateful as this was 2021 when COVID-19 was still limiting how much hospital setting exposure was available to prospective healthcare students. However, my determination and the help I received from the clinicians resulted in the most fascinating week I had ever spent in therapy. I was able to see such a wide range of pathology from hypertonic pelvic floors, to prolapse, to even a patient who was born without a uterus. I felt as if I had stepped into a whole new world that was unique and intimate and highly specialized. I was inspired.

From there, I began PT school in the beautiful city of Charleston where I was able to connect with the university hospital’s wonderful pelvic floor therapist and begin implementing the musculoskeletal training I had received at this point. With her, I was able to engage in cueing, form adjustments, and exercise progression. I was also able to connect with several pelvic floor therapists on my first clinical rotation where I received even more in depth knowledge on various pathologies. Fast forward a year and a half into school and I am drawn even more towards pelvic floor PT and making an impact with this population. 

My background especially influences me to break down barriers surrounding the pelvic floor region particularly in the case of minority health. I am privileged to be half Filipino which gives me the unique opportunity to engage in conversation with minorities, specifically, individuals of Asian descent that relate to the same cultural norms and taboos. As a young child, I picked up quite quickly that conversation surrounding the pelvic floor region was not to be discussed publicly or privately. The word ‘vagina’ was never uttered in my house. My mother would refer to the vagina as “your thing” and to be honest, I don’t believe I have heard her speak that word to this day. 

When I turned 21, I expressed my interest in having a pap smear screen done as that was the recommended age to start. My mother looked at me with disdain and stated that, “that was something you have done after marriage,” and that “it’s nasty” to have one performed prior. Shocking? Perhaps to you and others but not to me or the other Filipina girls I grew up with. That was our reality with the cultural stigmas that managed to survive even within the borders of another country. 

However, the stigmas are beginning to change. The conversation has shifted into one of curiosity rather than taboo. Shedding light on pelvic floor health has been the first step to openness and acceptance. Openness to the topic and acceptance of necessary healthcare. This is an obstacle best tackled through gentleness, acknowledgment of cultural differences, and time. Just as it takes 10 to 12 years for new methods and research to appear consistently in the clinic, so it also does with dismantling harmful cultural stigma but on a much larger and heavier scale. 

This is only the beginning, the first step to a long and passionate career. I look forward to playing my role in improving access to care by breaking down cultural barriers and engaging in meaningful conversations. It all starts with this first course that leads to the knowledge and experience necessary to treat. I am thrilled to begin making an impact and to be a part of something much larger than myself. 

Author: Michelle Logan, SPT, 2024 CAPP Scholarship Recipient

Author Bio: I am a second year physical therapy student at the Medical University of South Carolina with a passion for pelvic health PT and advocating for minority health. My hobbies include biking, dancing, and any beach activity from shark tooth hunting to surfing!
Brief Description: My mother who would never say the word "vagina," gave birth to a daughter who wants to be a pelvic floor physical therapist. God has a funny sense of humor.