…plus how strengthening my pelvic floor accidentally taught me to be more confident, powerful, and vocal about my needs…
What do you think of when I say “vaginal kung fu?” A brand of female ninjas running around? An kick a$$ punk band? A group like Fight Club…but for women?
Actually, it’s an incredible program I’ve been doing that helps women post childbirth to retrain their pelvic muscles and get rid of the dreaded tinkle that can happen when we laugh or sneeze.
I’ve been doing Kim Anami’s Vaginal Kung Fu program for the past year and adore it so much.
You know how sometimes Facebook’s algorithm is so accurate it’s kind of creepy? Last year, I was having a problem not tinkling myself whenever I’d laugh… and one day a post for Kim Anami’s program popped up in my feed… as if Facebook was reading my mind.
I initially came to Kim’s Vaginal Kung Fu program to help me with mild incontinence. When my son was born, he came into the world like a bullet train. I only had one hour of labor so my body had to adjust to the birthing process faster than normal. When the baby pops out of you in 1 hour with two pushes that = MASSIVE TEARING.
Even after I was all stitched up and healed, everything had changed down there (you know what I mean, ladies!). When, I’d laugh, I’d pee myself a bit. If I was stuck somewhere away from a bathroom, I’d have a hard time holding it.
So, I sought out a way to repair my body and to strengthen the pelvic floor and that’s how I found Kim’s Vaginal Kung Fu program (see below). And, it not only helped me strengthen the pelvic floor so I’d stop peeing myself, it improved my libido and sexual pleasure.
I know, I know: This is turning into a blog post that uses the word “vagina” a lot, but can I tell you a secret? Vagina is not a dirty word! It’s the anatomically correct word for a part of your body (an important part, I might add!) and should be no more offensive or cringe-worthy than breast — or foot for that matter!
I understand that this may be out of your comfort zone… And that’s OK. But if you’ve read this far, chances are you struggle with a little laughter leakage or sneeze pee, too, and are intrigued at the idea that you might be able to solve it. If that’s the case, let’s all just put on our big girl panties and talk frankly, OK?[bctt tweet=”Laughter leakage? Sneeze pee? You don’t have to just live with it! Smart solutions for healing here.”]
Laughter leakage and your pelvic floor
So what is your pelvic floor, anyway?
The pelvic floor is a combination of muscles, ligaments and tissues that extend from your pubic bone at the front of your body, to the base of your spine at the back. It’s sometimes compared to a trampoline, because it can stretch with weight and pressure, and then bounce back again.
But unlike a trampoline, when it bears weight for a long time — say, nine long months with a big baby sitting on top of it — the pelvic floor can get overstretched and the muscles are weaker.
These muscles normally help to support your bladder, intestines, and uterus, and help you control when you urinate and defecate. They’re also some of the muscles that helped you push that beautiful baby out into the world.
But when they’ve been weakened by pregnancy and childbirth, these muscles aren’t as strong, and so we have less control over our bodily functions — including the laughter leakage, sneeze pee, and exercise-induced “stress incontinence,” which you will understand if you’ve ever jumped on an actual trampoline after having a baby! Pelvic floor problems can also include, constipation, straining or pain during bowel movements; pain or pressure in the vagina or pelvis; heavy feeling in the pelvis or a bulge in the vagina, and even muscle spasms.
As we age and go through menopause, the problems of a weak pelvic floor can become even more severe. In fact, a weak pelvic floor coupled with the hormonal changes of menopause can cause the muscles to lose even more hold, resulting in a condition called prolapse, when the muscles can’t support your organs, and your uterus, bowel, or bladder to sag down and push against the walls of your vagina, which can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous condition that may require corrective surgery.
These problems are actually incredibly common, but in the U.S. and many other countries, doctors don’t address them postpartum unless and until they become serious issues. For most of us, the embarrassment of a little laughter leakage is something we just deal with, rather than seeking out a solution.
But this isn’t the case everywhere. In France, as part of a comprehensive postpartum wellness regimen, new mothers are treated to complimentary rééducation périnéale — or perineal re-education classes, which are like physical therapy for the vagina and pelvic floor muscles, to help regain strength and function.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be living en France after you have a baby, you’re all set. But pretty much anywhere else, you have to take matters into your own… er, hands.
Libido, sexual function, and the thyroid connection
All of these issues are certainly serious and worth improving on their own, but there’s another little secret people don’t like to talk about: a weak pelvic floor can also interfere with your libido and sexual function. It can decrease sensitivity in your vagina and make sex less satisfying overall.
For women with thyroid dysfunction, this is a double whammy. Low libido is a common (but sometimes ignored) symptom of thyroid problems.[bctt tweet=”For women with thyroid dysfunction, this is a double whammy. Low libido is a common (but sometimes ignored) symptom of thyroid problems.”]
And yes, I know this is a topic many of you will want to skip over. Maybe you feel like there’s nothing “wrong” in this department. Maybe you feel guilty or ashamed of experiencing pleasure during sex (or wanting to).
We were built to be sexual creatures.
Whatever your beliefs, we were created to experience pleasure during sex and our bodies respond powerfully and positively to that biological urge and satisfaction. I hope by providing this information I can empower you to understand that you deserve this pleasure.
Testosterone, that most manly of hormones, is responsible for a lot of our libido—makes a funny sort of sense, right?—and your adrenal gland is responsible for a bulk of your testosterone production. When you have adrenal fatigue or chronic stress, you have lower testosterone output, which could result in a lower sex drive. Plus, elevated cortisol levels have been shown to lower sex drive.
Combine that with the fact that thyroid dysfunction can have a negative effect on your libido, and you’ve got a cocktail for “Not tonight, honey.” And, after working with hundreds of thyroid sufferers, this is the #1 complaint partners report which can take a major toll on your relationship.
A weak pelvic floor only increases this problem. If your muscles aren’t working the way they’re meant to, you may experience less satisfaction when you do have sex, and that’s a self-fulfilling cycle: if it’s not much fun, you’re not going to want to do it very often… And on and on. So strengthening the pelvic floor, can not only boost your libido while you repair your thyroid, it can have a positive impact on your relationship.
Improving your pelvic floor with a little Vaginal Kung Fu
Luckily, there are steps you can take to heal yourself and strengthen your pelvic floor. You can start pelvic floor exercises any time before, during, or after pregnancy. Even if you’ve never been pregnant, having a strong pelvic floor is good for your overall abdominal health.
To start, try some of these exercises:
- Start with some simple kegel exercises: Sit on the arm of a chair, the edge of your bed, or the edge of a table, and imagine that you’re trying to stop yourself from urinating, mid-stream. The feeling is one of squeezing and lifting, but without tightening your upper abdominals (above your belly button), squeezing your legs together, or tightening your glutes. If you can’t feel anything, try it lying down, which can help pinpoint the sensation. Practice breathing regularly as you contract.
- Once you’ve identified how to contract and release your pelvic floor muscles, practice contracting and holding for between 6 and 10 seconds and then releasing.
- You can also try graduated contracting: Contract the muscles halfway and hold, then all the way and hold, then release halfway and hold, then release all the way.
- Finally, try pulling up the muscles quickly and releasing quickly. This movement is the one you need to prevent laughter leakage and sneeze pee.
- If you’re currently pregnant (or might have another baby) it’s just as important to learn to relax these muscles as contract them, because you must relax the pelvic floor to deliver the baby.
These are just a few basic exercises you can try at home. Shoot for 12 reps, two or three times a day. The lovely part about these exercises is that you can practice them anywhere — at home, in the car, at work, even in line at the grocery store — and no one around you will be any the wiser!
If you are experiencing regular incontinence problems like I was, however, you may want a more structured learning experience, which is why I highly recommend Kim’s Vaginal Kung Fu course.
A brief warning: Kim is bold, irreverent, and a little shocking! She uses strong language and images in her videos and on her website.
But make no mistake: Kim is a gentle, thoughtful, beautiful, spiritual and dare I say totally hot woman of substance who understands femininity, power and sexuality on a deep, holistic level.
I know we’re all adults here, but you have to be open to hearing some raw talk and coarse language to participate in her courses. But I can personally vouch for the fact that Kim holds a safe space for all women.
And if you choose not to explore her site and programs because of a few words and sexual images, you’d really be missing out on some powerful, transformative education.
I found myself so inspired by Kim’s work that maybe I stalked her for a bit (just maybe!) and asked her to talk with us today about libido, fertility, body image, confidence, using your voice and more – you know, the good stuff we deal with when we have a thyroid condition!
I hope you find as much wisdom in this interview with Kim as I did…
I hope you enjoy this interview and consider joining Kim’s upcoming Coming Together or Vaginal Kung Fu salons. They cover more than just your physical and sexual health – they help you forge your feminine power.
I’m calling on the brave and bold in our community to raise their hands and join a movement to use your feminine power in all aspects of your lives.
Because what was amazing — and totally unexpected — about this process for me, is that in the course of strengthening my physical body, I found I was also strengthening my emotional and spiritual self.[bctt tweet=”Because what was amazing — and totally unexpected — is that in the course of strengthening my physical body, I found I was also strengthening my emotional and spiritual self.”]
Kim’s work is amazing and so empowering.
It helps you step into your feminine power and to find your voice again. I’ve found that since starting Vaginal Kung Fu, I’ve been able to handle conflicts better, speak more directly, be more vulnerable and have been WAY, WAY more creative and inspired. I’ve also learned to love my body again and to appreciate all it does.
I also feel her programs have taught me about some crucial elements in healing — unblocking my chakra energy, speaking my truth, using sex hormones in healing, and more.
I was already aware of chakras and healing because your fifth chakra, the throat chakra, is associated with the thyroid. It’s also about the energy of accepting your uniqueness, expressing your authentic voice, and speaking your truth. Many of my clients have blocked energy at their fifth chakras, and have trouble speaking up for themselves (myself included!). But as we start to heal, we start to be better able to speak up, live our truth, and show up authentically in our lives. It’s kind of a miraculous transformation!
But according to some chakra theory, you must work to unblock your chakras in order, from the first root chakra, located around your sit bones, all the way up to the top of your head.
Your pelvic area is the location of your second chakra, between your pelvic bone and your belly button, and it’s your energetic center of passion, pleasure, and creativity. It’s the center of our feelings, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection.
But our society conditions us to ignore or even repress this energy in ourselves.
How often have you been made to feel that your feelings aren’t valid, that your passion is embarrassing, that your emotional reactions are frowned upon or that you’re not allowed to “lose control”? Not to mention the ridiculous mixed messages society sends us about our sexuality and femininity. We live in a culture that at once magnifies and glorifies sexuality in film, TV, ads and magazines — and then tells us we should be ashamed of our bodies when it comes to things like breastfeeding or looking like a normal woman.
By engaging in physical exercises to improve our pelvic floor, we take back our power by sending energy to our second chakra and opening up the flow of energy through that important energetic touchpoint. Once I started healing this area, I was able to handle conflicts better and to communicate my needs more directly with friends, family members and at work.
Kim’s work is bold and even revolutionary, and I truly believe it’s helped me in ways beyond fixing my laughter leakage/sneeze pee problem! It’s been an integral part of healing my thyroid, finding my voice, and healing any shameful feelings I was dealing with.
If you find this intriguing, I encourage you to listen to this short podcast episode Kim and I did to get to know her and her methods a bit better. You can also explore her website and free video series for more in-depth exercises and explanations of how to heal yourself in the comfort of your own home.
I hope you enjoy this interview and consider joining Kim’s upcoming Coming Together or Vaginal Kung Fu salons. You won’t regret that you did. The sisterhood during Kim’s coaching calls and in the chat room alone are worth it – but the education itself is transformative!
If you liked the interview and are looking for more information on symptoms and thyroid conditions, I also provide a ton of resources on healing, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.