I have started writing this blog over at least five times. Then I remembered that I am the girl who gets on a full elevator and refuses turn around to watch the floors light up above the door. If a social norm doesn’t make sense to me, I generally do not follow it. I prefer to talk to people in the elevator, and I prefer to talk about things no one else seems to want to talk about.
There are probably three primary no-no’s ( according to our social norms) about which to we must not talk publicly—bladder function, bowel function and sexual function. It is the trifecta of no-no’s quite frankly, but that is precisely what I want to talk a little bit about.
When it comes to bodily functions, it is hard to predict which motor functions will be most affected by my illness because everyone who has it seems to be affected differently. It would seem that the motor functions in this trifecta area of no-no topics are rarely discussed in forums, but are by no means excluded from the realm of muscle groups affected by my illness as well as other illnesses involving the central nervous system.
These are certainly relevant to having a quality of life and are probably even more critical in terms of managing illness than many of the other things being discussed. I have found a few specific blogs and resources outside of the disease specific forums, but it took quite a bit of effort to track them down.
The pelvic floor area is full of muscle groups that are inextricably connected to one another. Not only are they connected to one another, but they are also connected to the muscles in our hips that connect to our legs and so forth. Isolating them to work on them separately or even as a group can be a challenge, although there are some physical therapy exercises and yoga poses out there that target the trifecta no-no muscles.
Even doctors have parceled out this entire pelvic floor, so if I want to talk about the dysfunction in each area, I have to talk to three different doctors and each seems to operate as if the others are unrelated.
This entire midsection works well together for the relatively healthy person who has a healthy nervous system. For me, everything in the trifecta grouping of topics becomes a trial and error case study. In general, I have dysregulation of the pelvic floor muscles that creates issues with bowel and bladder functions. You already know I have to use a catheter three times a day and there is a similar problem with my bowels that isn’t as easily remedied.
The last of the trifecta topics I don’t think I have ever talked about is the relationship to sexual function into this same grouping of muscles and functions. I am more fortunate than many with neurological conditions because I do have sexual functioning, and since no one talks much about it, I am not sure if it is normal.
I haven’t heard anyone talk about how much more of a challenge it is to integrate into an already overly taxed body. Or perhaps the relationship these muscles have with the muscles we use to walk, and how careful we should be when we haven’t used them for a while.
What about the need to have a willing partner who will work cooperatively with you as you brain storm trial and error ideas? I cannot say I have ever heard anything except for some of them saying their partners understood they weren’t interested in having sex or something like that. I am not saying I want details, but suggestions of positions that don’t make the legs start continuous spasms or something like that could be helpful. Anything really could be helpful.
Was any of that so hard to read about? I don’t plan to talk all that specifically about any of the trifecta topics, but I will share what I figure out might be helpful in managing the problems created by the trifecta topics.