Top 5 Pelvic Health Tips for Girls and Young Women
“I wish I had known…”
In our combined 40+ years of practice as pelvic health physical therapists, this is one of the most common statements we hear from women. Many women agree that more knowledge about pelvic health earlier in life is needed (before there are problems). It’s never too early to start!
Here are our top 5 pelvic health tips for the girls and young women in our lives:
1. Use proper anatomical names for body parts. Parents can use names such as vulva, vagina, penis, scrotum, anus, as they would to identify other body parts such as the knee, foot, shoulder. This can enhance a child’s self-confidence and positive body image, as well as allow them to accurately report any questions or concerns to a trusted adult.
2. Have good potty habits. Regular, comfortable urination and bowel movements daily is normal. Frequent hard stools/constipation, bladder or bowel leakage, or any stress about going potty should be addressed early with a health care professional.
3. Monthly period = monthly “report card.” When a girl learns to track her cycle (length of cycle, flow length and volume, ovulation – as well as her mood, energy level, pain, appetite, and sleep), she can better understand her normal patterns and identify changes. She can gain insight regarding her body’s nutrition, rest, and exercise needs. Periods aren’t a burden…they are informative and healthy!
4. Pelvic pain is not normal. Whether it be with toileting, sports, sitting, or, later, with sexual activity, pain in the pelvis is not normal and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
5. Sexual pleasure IS normal. Yes, even for girls. Boys learn from an early age that this is a normal part of puberty, and we adults also accept and expect this. Many girls do not learn about normal, healthy sensations, and may feel shame or discomfort about it. See #1 above. This applies here too – learn about what your parts are called, how they look, and how everything works.
Good pelvic health = good overall health!