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You have pelvic-floor questions. The Vagina Whisperer has answers.
By Eliana Dockterman

Sara Reardon’s friends have called her “the vagina whisperer” for years. When they started getting pregnant and having babies, they would email the pelvic-floor physical therapist with questions about perineal massage, the fact that they peed in their pants every time they laughed, and the fear of painful sex for the rest of their post-baby lives. “I thought, ‘I’m writing this email over and over again, let me just put it on Instagram,’” says Reardon.

Now half a million people know Reardon as The Vagina Whisperer on Instagram where she posts funny, accessible videos to demystify the pelvic floor, the basket of muscles that affects essential functions like peeing, pooping, menstruation, and sexual health. Many women first learn about their pelvic floor during pregnancy, though pelvic-floor issues can affect any woman. 

Pelvic-floor therapy can help prepare women for birth or recover from problems afterward like diastasis recti (when the ab muscles separate) or pelvic organ prolapse (when internal organs collapse into the vagina). But women are often too embarrassed to talk about these issues or simply accept them as a normal sacrifice of becoming a mother and go undiagnosed. 

Here’s what you need to know about pelvic-floor issues that are so often ignored:

  • About one in four American women has a pelvic-floor disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health
  • Some 40% of women who give birth do not attend a postpartum visit with their doctor, which contributes to missed diagnoses of pelvic-floor problems
  • In France, pelvic floor therapy is covered for every new mother
  • The U.S. Congress has introduced a bipartisan bill that could help more women access pelvic-floor care after birth through Medicaid


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Today's newsletter was written by Eliana Dockterman and Oliver Staley, and edited by Oliver.