But please remember that whilst these problems are common, they are not normal, and there are solutions out there for you.
Periods have always been secret women’s business. So much so that one in five women suffer from period pain, living off painkillers month to month, and never really informed of the root cause of their pain. Unfortunately one in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, which can only be diagnosed and removed with laparoscopic surgery.
Period pain points to a hormonal imbalance involving oestrogen dominance and low progesterone. It can be reduced and eliminated through dietary and lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, eating more B-vitamins and vitamin C, and eating less refined sugar. Pelvic and abdominal physiotherapy can also be very helpful, not only for period pain, but also for spotting and irregular periods.
Bladder and Bowel Leaks
Because so many women accidentally wet themselves after having children, women think it’s normal and put up with it. And while bladder leakage is spoken about amongst girlfriends, accidental pooping and wind control issues are a silent struggle for one in eight mums.
There’s no need to recoil from the sight of a trampoline or avoid the aerobics sessions at your gym. Research shows doing regular pelvic floor strengthening exercises can put a stop to those embarrassing leaks.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If you’ve given birth, chances are you could have a prolapsed bladder, uterus or rectum. Prolapse is when one or more of these organs sags down in your pelvis, so if you notice things look a little loose and stretched down there, or maybe you’ve noticed a bulge, it’s probably prolapse.
If you do have prolapse, you’re not alone; it affects at least 30 per cent of women, and 50 per cent of those who’ve had a forceps birth. Symptoms of prolapse include leaking, a slow stream, lower back pain, lower abdominal pain and feelings of heaviness or dragging in the pelvis.
See a women’s health physiotherapist, as she can do a vaginal check-up, teach you pelvic floor exercises and fit you for a support device called a pessary, to push things back up. Don’t worry, pessaries are safe, sterile and pain-free; in fact you won’t even feel it’s in there (kind of like a tampon).