Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

5 Common NOT Normal Pelvic Floor Symptoms CrossFit Athletes Experience

March 10, 2023

As pelvic health physical therapists, we see CrossFit athletes for various reasons at our Boulder and Lafayette clinics. CrossFit is not an activity that is detrimental to the pelvic floor, even research has shown that, so we want all our CrossFit athletes to continue doing what they love. However, there are some common pelvic floor symptoms that can arise in the CrossFit athlete that can be resolved with pelvic floor physical therapy:

1. Leakage

Experience leakage with double-unders, box jumps, or heavy lifts? This indicates a pelvic floor dysfunction and often a mismanagement in our pressure management system. This does NOT always indicate a weakness of the pelvic floor. More often than not, we see pelvic floor tension or lack of proper pelvic floor coordination being the root cause of these symptoms. Resolving this symptom requires a personalized evaluation and plan and definitely requires more than just Kegels.

2. Urinary Urgency

Do you find yourself going to the bathroom right before and right after a WOD? Are you not able to make it through the 1-hour WOD without having to stop to pee? Do you get the urge to pee the second any impact exercise or sprinting is introduced? This does not have to be accepted as normal and could indicate a pelvic floor dysfunction. Urinary urgency and frequency could indicate excess tension in the pelvic floor muscles, lack of coordination, or trained sensitivity of the bladder. 

3. Pelvic Pain or Heaviness

Research has shown that CrossFit is not a predisposing factor to pelvic organ prolapse if the person is utilizing correct form. The caveat being poor form leading to increased pressure on the

organs forcing them down and sometimes out of the pelvic cavity. Heaviness experienced during heavy lifts or impact exercises can be addressed with pelvic floor physical therapy. Additionally, any pelvic pain that may result after workouts or pain with intercourse experienced at any time, is not normal and can be addressed with pelvic floor physical therapy.

4. Stopping CrossFit During Pregnancy due to Fear or Fear of Returning Postpartum 

Have you been told by a medical professional to not lift more than 25lbs in pregnancy? Have you been told to not let your heart rate get about 150 in pregnancy? Have you been told to never do sit ups or planks again after having a baby? That is all OUT DATED guidance. Newer research has proven even heavy Olympic weight lifting during pregnancy to not just be safe, but beneficial. Some updated guidelines we provide during pregnancy are found here. As for postpartum, your body is not invincible but it is also not fragile. You can absolutely return to CrossFit after having a baby, but everyone’s journey in returning can be different. A pelvic health physical therapist can address your individualized needs and guide you on your return to CrossFit.

5. Hip or Glute Pain that Hasn’t Resolved with Other Orthopedic Intervention 

Sometimes, the pelvic floor could be a factor in hip or glute pain. Asymmetries in the pelvic floor could affect how the region functions. If you have hip or glute pain that hasn’t resolved with orthopedic physical therapy, and especially if you also have any of the above issues mentioned in addition, you should seek out a pelvic physical therapist.

Realize that because something is common, that does not mean it is normal. At Mend pelvic physical therapy, we want all CrossFit athletes to continue doing what they love, and we want to help them be symptom free in doing so. Also at Mend, we acknowledge that pelvic health is so much more than just Kegel’s. As a CrossFit athlete, to address any of the concerns above, lying on a table doing Kegels is NOT going to be the answer. You need a pelvic physical therapist that understands you.

Schedule an appointment with one of our pelvic health physical therapists in Boulder or Lafayette today.