LONGMEADOW, Mass.- It was a service that seemed out of reach, but now Michelle Broughton is providing pelvic floor physical therapy for her community.
A person’s pelvic floor is the muscles around the mid-section.
“I’m treating Marlene today. I had a referral from her doctor for urinary incontinence,” said Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Dr. Broughton. “And what that means is that she is having urinary leakage with anything that causes stress to her pelvic floor, which includes coughing, laughing, sneezing.”
Broughton experienced pelvic floor pain after the birth of her third child.
Then, after having her fourth child, she could no longer participate in physical exercises.
Broughton said many of her peers, including medical professionals, had overlooked her condition until she discovered pelvic floor therapy by doing her own research.
Pelvic floor therapy focuses on manipulating the muscles to help them regain strength.
“I couldn’t believe my lack of knowledge. I couldn’t believe the lack of prescribed help,” said Broughton. “There was nobody that ever said, ‘Oh, it’s probably your pelvic floor!’ They didn’t discount it or they didn’t discredit but they just said, ‘Oh you’ll be ok, it’ll get better in six months.’”
Broughton became a licensed pelvic floor physical therapist this past Spring and has been working with patient Marlene Feliciano for multiple sessions.
Feliciano herself struggled with pelvic floor pain after giving birth.
She said it’s important to have conversations around the pelvic floor area because many people who struggle with it think it’s normal.
“A lot of issues with females are normalized as ‘That is what it is’ and it should not be,” said Feliciano. “It is part of our quality of life and no women should have to live life having accidents thinking, ‘Well, welcome to motherhood.’”
Broughton said without proper care, pelvic floor issues can get worse overtime.
“Pelvic floor therapy is important because pelvic floor is in charge of a lot of daily function, functional things,” Broughton said. “Your urinary function, your bowel function, sexual function.”
Broughton said many men and women avoid the conversation around the pelvic floor area because of negative perceptions, but hopes to use her platform to end the stigma and help those in need.