Unfortunately, there is no holiday break from maintaining pelvic health when you suffer from chronic pelvic pain. With a little bit of discipline, you can still enjoy the holiday celebrations – while also avoiding consequences from neglecting your pelvic health. I understand it’s the holiday season again – time for a break, time for fun and festivities but… maybe not entirely. It would be wise to continue taking care of your pelvic health.
How do the holidays affect your pelvic pain?
The holidays are a great time to relax, but you should be aware of the effect alcohol can have on your pelvic floor. Drinking too much can increase pelvic pain and dysfunction. Alcohol can be quite inflammatory, especially if you already experience pelvic dysfunction – so while it’s okay to enjoy a few drinks around this time of year, it’s best if you manage your intake mindfully, especially if you struggle with pain.
Getting behind on exercise:
Between busy Christmas schedules, our daily routines are often very different during the holidays. This might lead to less exercise and more time spent being sedentary. These changes to your activity levels can actually make us more likely to develop pain. As you know, exercise and physical activity help to relax and tone your pelvic floor muscles! These habits can also lead to more tension, as the business of the holidays can feel overwhelming, and this might have a physical effect on you.
The holidays are a joyful time, but also extremely stressful! Changes in routine, traveling, meeting families, attending different events, and the financial pressure to get gifts for everyone. All of this can lead to feelings of overwhelm. Our pelvic floor muscles are known to be threat responders, and your pelvic floor muscles can over-activate to guard and protect you from all that stress. However, your protective pelvic floor muscles can often worsen symptoms like pelvic pain, back pain, hip pain and incontinence if they become too tense.
Change in Routine
Did you know that our pelvic floors love habits and consistency? Many of our patients make progress by building habits that support good pelvic health. Some great habits to build are staying hydrated every day, eating healthy, meditation, making time for exercise or could be anything else. It can, though, be really hard to keep these routines up over the holidays because it’s such a hectic time, which might lead to worsening of symptoms.
What you can do to manage your pelvic pain during holidays.
With a little bit of discipline and planning, you can still enjoy the holiday celebrations and not ignore your pelvic health.
Plan for healthy eating & hydration
I’m not asking you to forget all the delicious pies and cookies, but try to plan your day’s meals out to make sure you are eating fresh fruits and veggies, getting adequate fiber, and getting adequate hydration. This can help keep your body feeling its best and help to reduce any inflammation that might contribute to that pain!
Stress makes your pain, bowel and bladder symptoms worse, which is why a lot of people notice their symptoms worsen during the holidays. Try to include your favorite stress relieving routine.
Don’t miss your appointments.
If you have a Dr’s appointment or Pelvic Physio appointment, or your regular exercise class, make sure to attend. Make yourself a priority; make time to go for your daily walk or jog. Don’t forget about that self care. Boundary settingThe holidays can be overwhelming. It’s important to set boundaries. We all grew up being very accommodating, but sometimes we need a little space from those demands and expectations so that our own health doesn’t get compromised in the process.
Treat flare-ups with compassion
Despite trying everything, your symptoms still may worsen. You may have increased pain or constipation, bladder leaks, or find your pain disrupts your holiday plans. This may compound into all those negative thoughts telling you that you are never going to get better, or that your body can’t handle busy holidays.
Take a slow deep breath and recognize what could have caused the symptoms: was it tension? Have you not been on top of doing your stretches? Is it stress caused by family members? Or maybe all those stressful conversations are getting to you?
Once you’ve identified the possible cause, gently make a plan to move forward. Get back on your self-care plan, book your pelvic physio appointment, do some breathing exercises, take some time to calm your system again. Build your plan, and start taking steps in the right direction. You will get through this!
For further advice and assistance with your pelvic health over the Christmas holidays, book an appointment with a caring and highly experienced Harmony Pelvic Physiotherapist! You can visit our online booking portal with the link below, and follow us on social media to keep up to date with everything we’re doing at the clinic!