Starting My Journey Towards Pelvic Health Advocacy
Hello! I am new here to the pelvic health world. I would love to write about my journey into pelvic health physical therapy being a passionate and quick decision, but I would be lying. It was a long, drawn-out process of internal debate, with a slow realization that I needed a better understanding of the pelvic floor. I knew it would help my patients (and myself, if I am being honest), and I knew there was a deficiency in pelvic health therapists in our rural state. I am happy I made the jump!
I have been primarily an orthopedic physical therapist for ten years. I finally came around to pelvic health after having my first child. I will spare you the details, but it was an unnecessarily long recovery. I kept feeling this disappointment in myself as a physical therapist because I could not figure out why my healing seemed slow. Returning to moderate-level activities felt like one step forward and two leaps back. I knew I was missing something. Come to find out, this is a familiar story for many women.
Treating patients with pelvic health concerns has been a humbling experience. There is an overwhelming amount of information to sort through and process. As a rookie, I am predominantly treating incontinent issues. And, oh boy, is that a prevalent issue! With each evaluation I complete I cannot help but feel disheartened by the lack of education my patients have about their condition. Many of my patients have dealt with incontinence for years and have been filtered through the healthcare system, yet lack basic knowledge of the condition itself. In today's world of abundant information, why is this happening?
Our profession has done better with community education and PT awareness, specifically with the APTA's ChoosePT campaign. I see more people advocating for themselves and seeking out therapy sooner. Primary providers are becoming more aware of the benefits of physical therapy for neuromusculoskeletal issues. However, when it comes to pelvic health awareness, we are still behind, especially in rural communities, and this is where I can challenge myself.
My goal for this phase in my career is to push myself further out of my comfort zone and find ways to educate the general public about incontinence and other pelvic health issues. I will reach out to primary care providers to educate them on how pelvic health therapists can assist. People deserve to know they can live their life without worrying about where the next bathroom is located.
Thanks for welcoming me into the pelvic health world. I will try my hardest to make a difference.