By Emily Schwerdtfeger, PHRC Westlake Village
May is Mental Health Awareness Month; we wanted to talk about pelvic pain and mental health!
When it comes to pelvic pain, it can have a major effect on both your physical and mental health. Did you know about 20% or one in five people experience a mental health disorder at some point in their entire lifetime? Like mental health, pelvic pain can affect anyone and everyone. It does not discriminate against age, race, or class. Pelvic pain and mental health can affect you whether you’re older or younger, actively aware of the symptoms (for either), exercise regularly, pay attention to your diet or even if you get consistent sleep.
So, How do you break away from the pain?
Let’s start with the pelvic pain. If you are experiencing some form of pelvic pain, we always recommend getting evaluated by a pelvic floor physical therapist. They will be able to help you find the route cause of your pain or discomfort, and get you on the right path to eliminating that pain. For some, working in a multidisciplinary team is the best way to address the pelvic pain, as it will allow you to bring in professionals from neighboring fields that will provide important insight on your overall health that will directly impact your pelvic health.
Assembling the right treatment team is crucial when treating pelvic health issues because several different disciplines in medicine play a role in treating the pelvis. Depending on the specifics of your pelvic health concern, you will virtually always want to consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist, but you may also need to consult with a
- pain management specialist
- mental health provider
- and/or an acupuncturist
This brings us to the mental health aspect. It’s 2022, and I’d like to say that it’s one of the first few years that mental health has started to break away from the negative stigma it used to have. More people are opening up about their struggles with mental health and providers are becoming more available. Whether you choose to find a therapist, therapist + psychiatrist combo, a mental health app, or virtual therapy, choosing to acknowledge and work on your mental health will ultimately benefit not only your mental health, but also your pelvic health! While we don’t always jump into recommending our clients seek a therapist in addition to pelvic floor PT, we like to think it would benefit all of our clients if they did. Pelvic health issues can affect us mentally when they become chronic (or even long before that). Finding a way to address both gives you a higher chance of recouping and feeling better in the long run.
Tricks + Tips for Boosting Your Mental Health /Mood
When it comes to quick fixes, for both pelvic pain and mental health, there unfortunately isn’t a “one size fits all” tip for either. That being said, there are ways in which you can help your body move towards positive energy for your mental health. When you are feeling down or can feel the fog mentally rolling in, it’s a good idea to check in with your body! So, how do you check in with your body? For our mental health, you might already have an idea of how you’re feeling; but if you don’t know how to really ‘check in,’ it’s always a good practice to check in with your happiness chemicals!
Happiness chemicals, you say? You may have heard about getting your daily ‘DOSE’ but you might not have known exactly what that entails – DOSE stands for the hormones that are responsible for regulating our mood:
Dopamine – the reward chemical
Oxytocin – the love hormone
Serotonin – the mood stabilizer
Endorphin – the pain killer
Each one has their own unique role to play, but together they are considered the brains’ “happy chemicals”! When you’re feeling down, this is the time that you check to make sure you’ve gotten your daily dose. If you’ve missed something, checking in allows you to find a way in which to get your brain chemicals flowing in a way that will positively benefit you.
Now, there will always be ebbs and flows in both our mental health and pelvic health. This is a part of life that we learn to find what works for us in both regards. Here at the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center, we want to support you with your pelvic health, and help provide you with resources so you can maintain your most optimal overall health for yourself. If you need additional (mental health/pelvic health) resources, please see them below.
Pelvic Pain Blog Resources
Need help or not sure where to find it? Please find mental health resources below.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En español 1-888-628-9454
Text “HELLO” to 741741
Veterans Crisis Line
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255
Call or text 1-800-985-5990
Need help finding a pelvic pain provider? See our directories below to find one near you.
Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!
Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.
In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page.
Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page.
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