I started cheering when I was in middle school. In my junior year of high school, I started to notice that every time we had to do a pike I leaked a little. As time went on my leaking got worse – I couldn’t perform a simple cartwheel without leaking. It was so embarrassing, and at one point I almost quit after having a very large “accident” in the middle of a major competition.
I started to look in the internet for solutions to my problem and all the articles I read told me to squeeze my pelvic floor muscles. Something called a “Kegel.” I started to do over 200 a day, but my problem just got worse. I was so upset. I had planned to go to college on a cheer scholarship and now I couldn’t even sneeze without leaking.
Finally I found Athena Women’s Health (now EvergreenHealth Urology & Urogynecology Care). I was so happy that it was an all-women’s practice specializing in incontinence. When I arrived I expected there to be a bunch of old ladies in the lobby, but there was a bunch of younger people. Some of them were even younger than me. I was shocked.
My physical therapist was great. She told me she treated teens like me all the time and that she treats tons of cheerleaders for the same problem.
With my permission and my parent’s permission she took examined my muscles “down there” and found out they were very tight and painful. I didn’t understand how my muscles could be tight and I could be leaking, but she explained to me that my muscles needed to be able to both tighten and relax in order to stop leaking. I couldn’t do either, but with her help I can now do both.
In addition, she taught me how to cheer without leaking. It had a lot to do with coordinating my pelvic floor with my breathing. It made a huge difference. I am happy to report I am no longer leaking and have just recently accepted a cheer scholarship.
PS: When I finally got the nerve to tell the other girls on my squad what I was doing I was surprised to find out many of them had the exact same issue. We plan on having Athena come over to do an in-service for the entire squad.
No More Embarrassment While Changing for Gym Class
After getting my period in 2012, I quickly realized I was unable to use a tampon. I was so embarrassed to change for gym with a big pad in between my legs, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it to go in. It was so painful. I told my mom and she took me to several physicians to see what the problem was. I had several tests including urinalysis, ultrasounds, and MRI’s. All tests came back negative.
My mom began doing my own research on the internet and found Athena Physical Therapy. I never knew there was physical therapy for this area. They explained that muscles “down there” can be very tight, and just like a tight muscle anywhere else they needed to be stretched. My physical therapist told me that this was not an uncommon problem and that she was sure she could help. She made me feel comfortable during our sessions and was super encouraging.
During my treatment I was taught better ways to breathe, how to relax, and we worked on massage and exercise. She also worked on my posture and stretched my tight muscles. Pretty soon, I could feel them relaxing.
In about eight visits, I was able to use tampon without pain thanks to the PTs at Athena. I can even go swimming whenever I want.