Due to working with pregnant and postnatal yoga clients and hosting menopausal women in my Red Tent, I hear lots of distressing and uncomfortable experiences concerning the pelvic area. These are common, but not normal, and there is lots of support available. Sometimes you may need to push your GP for a referral, but please do not put with these issues.
With the pelvic floor, it is important to establish whether the muscles are tight or weak before engaging in Kegel-type exercises. If you do Kegels with already tight muscles you may exacerbate the situation. If you do Pilates or other activities that engage the pelvic floor for long periods of time, make sure to regularly relax the muscles.
In the first instance, ask for a referral to a women's health physiotherapist. There should be a specialist Pelvic Floor Clinic in every NHS trust. For faecal incontinence you can request a referral to the Colorectal clinic.
Privately, you can find your nearest Mummy MOT physio practitioner or a Holistic Pelvic Care therapist, who can do internal assessments and massage. I have received Holistic Pelvic Care from Rachel and it is very respectful and a much nicer experience than having a smear test for example. Andrea Clarke also comes highly recommended, but is further away (she also does phone consultations).
(BTW you can do your own smear test and/or take a chaperone with you. I know several women who have done this at their local surgery and they said that it was easy to obtain the sample and much easier to relax.)
Most local, is Sophie Geldard who offers internal myofascial release in women’s pelvic floor muscles and episiotomy scars etc. You can contact her here. She trained in it after having the treatment successfully herself.
Dr Ruth Jones has been highly recommended to me for prolapse. She will also recommend physios who she has taught if logistics don't work out to travel to Hampshire.
Chiropractors may also assist with pelvic issues. Locally I would recommend Kelly at Dynamic Family Chiropractice.
For womb massage, Sarah Smith is most local in Henley and is personally recommended. Melonie Syrett does Womb Massage, is based in London and Essex. Womb massage can be helpful for fertility issues and postnatally to support the womb to return to a balanced position, amongst other things. Or see the therapist locator here.
I teach Hypopressives for incontinence, prolapse and diastasis recti. I was trained by Hypopressives UK, who have a network of teachers nationwide.
Some organisations that can signpost further support:
Christine Kent has lots of practical advice https://wholewoman.com/
Make Birth Better (mental health) https://www.yours.co.uk/health-and-wellbeing/health/articles/the-best-pelvic-floor-trainers-review
Mothers with Anal Sphincter Injuries in Childbirth https://masic.org.uk/
Royal College of Ob & Gynae https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/menopause/pelvic-organ-prolapse/
Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein (practical exercises)
Wild Feminine by Tami Lyn Kent (beautiful exercises for reconnecting)
There are pelvic floor trainers that women I know have used very successfully, but I would recommend consulting someone who can do an internal assessment before using one.
The Elvie has been recommended to me as effective and easy to use, but there are many available.
**PLEASE - if you have found something or someone useful that is not listed here, please email me and tell me about it or her.**