Read what Tampa’s best rated pelvic therapist has to share about the effect of breastfeeding on your pelvic health!
Parents should never be discouraged from breastfeeding due to the benefits to both baby & parent. However, lactation can have a negative effect on the pelvic floor. Thankfully, this side effect is easily manageable and usually reverses with some help (read ) or once the baby has weaned. Perimenopausal and menopausal women also experience similar vaginal dryness, which can often be corrected with the information listed below.
Lactation causes a state of low estrogen in the breast/chestfeeding parent, which leads to dryness and loss of tissue bulk in the vaginal walls. As a result, vaginal lubrication decreases and intimacy is often painful and not pleasurable.
Here are our best tips for keeping your pelvic floor healthy while lactating! The following ins not medical advice, and receiving clearance from your medical provider is recommended before trying these –
- Once cleared for intimacy, use a glycerin and alcohol-free lubricant for all intimacy (even with fingers!). Most drugstore brands contain these harmful chemicals that lubricate in the short term, but caused increased dryness between uses.
- Talk to your OB/GYN, Midwife, or pelvic floor therapist about using a specially formulated vaginal moisturizer or an edible oil such as coconut oil to moisturize the outside & inside of your vulva. Always use clean fingers for application, and use the product of your choice solely for this purpose!
- Eating food with healthy fats like Omega 3 fatty acids may help your pelvic floor be healthier. Some foods to include may be pumpkin, sesame seeds, ground flax, sunflower seeds, avocado and fatty fish.
- Ask your medical care provider about using hyaluronic acid vaginally. It’s similar to the hyaluronic acid in facial moisturizers and helps combat the dryness caused by Breastfeeding. Next time you stop in at our office, ask for a sample.
- If you work with a trusted herbalist, ask them about phytoestrogens. There are some herbs such as shatavari, that are safe to take when breastfeeding. These herbs typically work by balancing hormonal levels to improve vaginal lubrication.
If you continue to experience pelvic dryness, ask your medical provider about other options such as topical estrogen and for a referral to pelvic floor therapy. There is no reason to suffer with vaginal dryness and painful intimacy when several options exist to treat this common condition. If you’re suffering from pelvic health concerns, you can work with our 5-star rated pelvic floor therapist and sex counselor by clicking here.
Bookmark this post to refer to when you see you Gyn or Midwife, and share with a loved one who may have this concern!
Here’s to happy breastfeeding with a healthy pelvic floor!