Pelvic Health & Mental Health
How they are hugely impacted by one another
Pelvic health is defined by Baylor University as "the best possible functioning and management of the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs."
Mental health is defined by Oxford dictionary as "a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being."
Physically these two areas of health are fairly far apart, the brain's location compared to the pelvis HOWEVER through the connections of the nervous system they work in total connection.
Why is it important to understand these connections and their related functions?
With a better understanding of your own body one often feels more in control of symptoms and factors that relate to your pelvic and mental health.
How does this connection of pelvic and mental health appear in research?:
-A 2013 clinical trial evaluated the ability to succeed with pelvic health physical therapy interventions with concurrent anxiety and depression. What happened? All participants had symptom improvement however the participants with little to no anxiety or depression had the MOST improvement. Another noticeable difference in their sample was that the participants with moderate to severe anxiety and depression had the most severe pelvic floor dysfunction.
So which comes first? Pelvic floor dysfunction or mental health dysfunction? It's bi-directional. Both are so related to one another that it truly depends on each person's individual history and experiences. One might have a decline in mental health due to circumstances and varying other factors which then leads to concurrent decline in pelvic floor dysfunction.
One might have a pelvic health dysfunction due to a certain circumstance and/or other comorbidity which then causes concurrent decline in mental health.
Why is this important to ME? Yes you-reading this. Imagine you've been having urinary leakage for years. This leads to anxiety surrounding public events as you become afraid of leaking where someone might see it on your pants. You then start carrying around extra underwear and pants with you "just in case." Then you start wearing a pad all the time even though you're not leaking all the time, but it helps put your mind at ease knowing there's some kind of protection there. Then from frequent pad use, you start having vulvar irritation which also contributes to continued anxious feelings of I don't want to be itchy in public. I'm uncomfortable all the time. Now you're just outright anxious in public so you might begin having some social anxiety interacting with people because you avoid it now to not have to worry about a pad or leaking. Then you begin being anxious of other things not related to your pelvic health at all.
THIS-this is why it is so important to stop this domino effect. Whether it was mental health dysfunction that came first or a pelvic health symptom.
If you take away anything from this article we hope that it's motivation to seek out help and treatment for pelvic health and mental health dysfunction before it progresses into something much larger that will take a larger investment of your time and finances to resolve.
Want to schedule an appointment with me? Head to www.thestudiobarreandwellness.com/physicaltherapy
Need help locating a pelvic floor physical therapist near you? Follow these links:
Not ready to start pelvic floor physical therapy but want to work on things at home? Download our guide:
Need help locating a mental health professional? Follow these links: