If I gave you a diagram of the female pelvic anatomy, would you know where to find a labia, clitoris or urethra? Don’t feel bad if the answer is no. I mean, it’s just not something we were really ever taught. But maybe we should have been?
In this episode, Helen catches up with the pelvic physio Tiffany Sequeira (@gynaegirl) who's on a mission to educate! Sex, fannies, willies, wee and lots, lots more... is how she describes what she does.‘I went to all girls school until I was 18. I could do algebra. I could name all the parts of a plant. I could name all this random stuff but I could not name you the anatomy of the vulva, the vagina. I could not label 5 things on a female pelvic anatomy. And I think, gosh, there is something that we’re really doing wrong here’
Helen and Tiffany discuss a pelvic floor curriculum, how pelvic health could be more inclusive, the pitfalls of talking sex on social...and how to move beyond euphemisms.
You can find Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
More episodes from "Why Mums Don't Jump"
Vaginal Pessaries: A Deep Dive
29:42Ring, Gellhorn, Donut, Cube, Shaatz, Gehrung. They might sound like Trolls' characters, but they are, in fact, types of vaginal pessaries. A pessary is a plastic or silicone device which can be inserted into the vagina to help support the pelvic organs after prolapse or to help with incontinence. They've been around since time began (almost) and come in so many different shapes and sizes it can put your head in a spin.In this episode, Helen speaks to the pessary expert and 'Pelvic Angel', Gaynor Morgan for an overview of what's available, how to try one and the incredible story of how she came to invent her own. Gaynor, who also teaches Pfilates (pelvic floor pilates), says for some women, the right pessary can make a huge difference: 'Some of these women have gone from suicidal to 100 percent back to being 'normal' again...but again a pessary is just a tool. I always advocate that you need physiotherapy - pelvic floor training. Let’s get that pelvic floor up to the strength it needs to be.'Gaynor reveals how incontinence affected her mum's mental health, her impactful legacy and why pessaries won't work for everyone.Gaynor is @pelvicangel on Instagram. You can find her website here.For a written guide to vaginal pessaries, read this fantastic blog. Check out the new UK guidelines for patients and clinicians, which were mentioned in this episode.You can find Helen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Pop Club 2
28:24Pop Club is back! Helen catches up with 'Skye' and 'Jess' -- friends with pelvic organ prolapse who keep each other smiling. There's a new baby, talk of surgery and reflections on birth trauma, mental health...and a ban on mirrors. The previous Pop Club! episode led to unofficial Pop Clubs forming in the UK and around the world. If you'd like to know more, read this.For more on having another baby after prolapse listen to thisThe fitness trainer Jess mentions in this episode is Dana LandgrenAnd if you'd like to know more about getting back to fitness with pelvic floor dysfunction listen to thisYou can find Helen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Pelvic Floor Gadgets (Vadgets)
27:47Wands. Cones. Probes. Biofeedback. Stimulators. Shorts. Apps. Weights. Chairs. Video Games?! Pelvic floor tech can be confusing but fear not! In this episode, Helen speaks to the pelvic health physiotherapist and self-confessed gadget nerd, Amanda Savage, for an overview of pelvic floor tech. 'I think one of the reasons that gadgets and devices can work is that they make you stop still and actually do it properly. Because if you've gone to all the effort to take your kit off and put something inside and plug into a machine, you're not going to just drift off and put a wash on, are you?'Helen and Amanda run through the differences between stimulation devices, biofeedback, weights, tracker apps and more. They discuss what they're for, how they work, how to use them and why it's not a great idea to do the big shop at the same time.Amanda is @supportedmums on Instagram. You can find more detail about pelvic floor gadgets on her website here.You can find Helen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
23:24Helen chats to Dr Jan Russell, a listener with a prolapse, a coach, a grandmother, an author and, in her own words, 'a feisty old crone'. Jan talks about pelvic organ prolapse after menopause and the shock of finding out the day before her 60th birthday cruise:'I was alarmed. I'd got visions of me being in my glad rags and dancing on the wonderful ballroom floor on this amazing ship, really not knowing what would happen next with my pelvic organs!'Helen and Jan talk about getting past the blame and the shame, learning how to manage it all with good humour and advocating for our own health:'We do know our bodies, don't we. So fight for your body. Fight for your body. Put that feistiness into it. You are worth looking after.'Jan is @drjanrussell on Instagram Jan mentioned working with the personal trainer, Lisa Gimenez-Codd, from OptiMum Health. You can find her hereYou can find Helen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Having Another Baby After Prolapse
31:07Having another baby when you have pelvic organ prolapse is a big one. There are just so many unknowns. Will pregnancy make your prolapse worse? Would it be better to have a caesarian? Can you do anything to protect yourself? Helen speaks to the pelvic health physio Clare Bourne who opens up about her experience of prolapse:'Even if you know the research, even if you know everything could be ok at some point in the future, in that moment nothing feels fine. It's like you're given this death sentence of "this is your life now".'Clare has gone on to have a second child and tells Helen about her experience of birth, healing and doing it all again. They talk about how to approach pregnancy the next time around, the importance of staying active and about re-writing the narrative around prolapse:'When you come down to it, yes there are changes to those walls, yes there are changes to where those pelvic organs are for some people. However that doesn't mean we're going to live like this forever. And it's that conversation that I think is sometimes missing.'Clare is @clarebournephysio on InstagramHolistic Core Restore is the pelvic-floor-safe fitness programme mentioned in this episode. You can support Why Mums Don't Jump on Buy Me A CoffeeYou can find Helen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
18:16Helen is joined by Peace Bailey, a mother of two who lives in Spain and blogs about moving there from the UK. She shares posts on Instagram about motherhood, race and faith. But she's also chosen to speak out about nighttime urinary incontinence, or bed wetting, which she experienced after childbirth. 'I don't even know if I managed to go back to sleep because I was embarrassed. I couldn't even go in the shower because it was 3 or 4 in the morning. So I had to crawl back into bed trying to figure out what just happened? How is this happening to me? I'm 31 years old and I'm wetting the bed. What is this?'Helen and Peace discuss the stigma around pelvic floor dysfunction, how hard it is to access good information, and how mums owe it to themselves to get help.Peace is @baileysinspain on InstagramYou can find Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Between The Sheets: Sex & Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
31:19Sex with pelvic floor problems. We're going there! Intimacy after childbirth can be difficult at the best of times. How do you even begin to navigate that if you then have incontinence or prolapse or pelvic pain? Helen and the pelvic health physiotherapist Jilly Bond discuss postnatal sex and the issues women with pelvic floor dysfunction can face, both physically and mentally: 'All of these issues are so fixable. So remediable. I struggle to find in my mind anyone that we haven't been able to make progress with at least, if not really got them back to normal intimacy or intimacy that's fulfilling for them through treatment. It's like having a bad back. We can get things moving.'Jilly and Helen talk about the process of getting back to where you'd like to be and how you can access the help you need to get there. Jilly Bond is a pelvic health physiotherapist based in Wales, with a specialist interest in pelvic pain. She's on maternity leave until Summer 2021. She is @jillybondphysio on Instagram and @jilly_bond on Twitter.NHS information about sex therapy, including finding a psychosexual counsellor or therapist can be found hereThe charity, Relate, can also provide relationship supportFor a list of pelvic physios near to you, check out the Squeezy Directory hereFor more about Jamie McCartney's Great Wall of Vagina go hereAnd to get involved with the UK Government's consultation on the gender health gap go hereYou can find Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
28:44(TW: birth injury, forceps, trauma, surgery)Bowel incontinence after childbirth. It's a taboo within a taboo. But it's not uncommon. The charity, MASIC (Mothers with Anal Sphincter Injuries in Childbirth) says 1 in 10 women who have a vaginal delivery will have problems holding either poo or wind. In this episode, Helen meets up with Chantelle Sandham, a mum from Manchester who is charting her journey with birth injury and bowel or faecal incontinence on Instagram as @tears_from_tearing. They discuss a difficult birth, treatment, supporting other mums and how we shouldn't be ashamed to talk about it:‘Everybody poos. It's a normal bodily function. It's just...mine's gone a bit wrong at the minute’Chantelle is @tears_from_tearing on InstagramThe charity MASIC can be found hereThe Birth Trauma Association website is hereFind Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Gynae Girl: 'Pelvic health starts from day one'
18:15If I gave you a diagram of the female pelvic anatomy, would you know where to find a labia, clitoris or urethra? Don’t feel bad if the answer is no. I mean, it’s just not something we were really ever taught. But maybe we should have been? In this episode, Helen catches up with the pelvic physio Tiffany Sequeira (@gynaegirl) who's on a mission to educate! Sex, fannies, willies, wee and lots, lots more... is how she describes what she does. ‘I went to all girls school until I was 18. I could do algebra. I could name all the parts of a plant. I could name all this random stuff but I could not name you the anatomy of the vulva, the vagina. I could not label 5 things on a female pelvic anatomy. And I think, gosh, there is something that we’re really doing wrong here’Helen and Tiffany discuss a pelvic floor curriculum, how pelvic health could be more inclusive, the pitfalls of talking sex on social...and how to move beyond euphemisms. Tiffany Sequiera is @gynaegirl on InstagramEllie Jack Illustrations is @elliejackillustrations on Instagram and the graphics mentioned in this episode can be found here.You can find Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.com
Emma Barnett: 'I have a hypertonic pelvic floor'
32:18A hypertonic pelvic floor is where the muscles are so tight they can’t relax. It can happen after childbirth. It can be incredibly painful. And we can add it to a long list of things we’ve never heard of but probably should.In this episode, Helen is joined by the award-winning broadcaster and journalist Emma Barnett who says a hypertonic pelvic floor is one of the ‘most upsetting’ things she’s ever been through. Emma’s not afraid to smash stigmas. She's literally written the book on periods and spoken openly about living with endometriosis. But a tight pelvic floor? She’d just never come across it.‘I would have loved to have heard this conversation when my son was around three months old and I was scrabbling about on the internet late at night thinking ‘Am I losing my mind here?’Helen and Emma talk about awareness, a need for research and how ‘women’s issues’ don’t always get the platform they deserve.Emma presents Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 in the UK and is a regular on BBC 2's Newsnight You can find Emma's book 'It's About Bloody Time. Period.' hereShe's @emmabarnett on Instagram and @Emmabarnett on TwitterFor more information on hypertonic pelvic floor listen to: Pelvic Floor Problems 101 Sarah's Story Find Helen @whymumsdontjump on Instagram and Twitter or at www.whymumsdontjump.comTo find a pelvic health physiotherapist in the UK, Emma mentioned Mummy MOT or you could try the Squeezy Directory For more information and support about Endometriosis, go to Endometriosis UK