Anyone who has survived sexual abuse or knows someone who has might understand the multi-faceted issues that one must move through in order to cope and move forward with their lives. The most common and effective way to deal with these issues is with a variety of psychotherapy techniques. However there has been a lot of research and articles discussing the effects of muscle memory. Emotional and mental trauma can manifest itself physically in the body the same way physical trauma does. Aside from the obvious trauma that can occur in the pelvic floor muscles after sexual abuse several emotional and mental coping mechanisms also occur that do affect the pelvic and abdominal muscles. As many with chronic pain or disease will do, in order to survive day to day, the survivor will “check out” of the pelvic and abdominal region.
This lack of awareness can eventually cause significant quality of life issues down the road. The pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are classic regions where we hold stress and tension due to the amount of nerves that reside there as well as the connections to the bladder, gut and bowels. If these muscles are in a chronic state of tension, the pliability or “stretchiness” of the muscles will be decreased. This will ultimately create weakness and/or pain within those muscles that are used for intercourse. Pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, incomplete emptying of bowel and bladder, and abdominal pain can all result from this lack of awareness that can be a result of this survival technique.
Psycho-emotional support is absolutely essential in learning safe and effective coping techniques, however balancing this with pelvic floor therapy can help decrease the symptoms that can result from lack of pelvic floor muscle awareness. With the use of biofeedback and physical feedback from safe touch by a licensed pelvic floor therapist there is hope that acceptance can occur. Combining these techniques with a home program will ultimately result in an improved quality of life. Acceptance of the here and now starts NOW. Release muscle tension from what has happened in the past and allow your mind and body to move forward.