Pelvic Floor Health with Pelvic Forward’s Amanda Fugate
I’ve been a fan of pelvic floor specialists since seeing one myself after the birth of my son, but Amanda Fugate’s enthusiasm about all things pelvic floor is another level!
I first met Amanda at Fit4Mom Asheville’s Potluck for Your Pelvis event, where she spoke openly and answered all the questions our group of moms threw her way. Honestly, she talked for over 2 hours and we just came up with more to ask!
Here’s a glimpse of Amanda and her wealth of knowledge.
How did you start working with the pelvic floor specifically, and how long have you been doing what you do?
It began when I was a child. The only kindergartener five feet tall, and with braces. My body obviously matured very quickly, but I had no information about what that meant.
By the time ANY of my friends started going through puberty I was old hat at this and quickly became the go to person…. This is what a period is…how you use a tampon…. try this for cramping, etc. And for some reason, although MANY things made me very uncomfortable and awkward at that age, this was natural for me.
This pattern continued, and in college I found greater avenues to learn and serve on these topics including volunteering with Rape Crisis and Women’s Health organizations.
After college, I knew I wanted to pursue the medical field, and being an avid researcher, I began volunteering with all my avenues of interest. Luckily the first PT clinic I shadowed at, had a Pelvic PT. When I found out, the AMAZING array of conditions that could be treated with Pelvic PT AND the positive success rates that were possible for patients.
Many conditions people had been told to, “live with” or, “surgery is your only option”, weren’t so. I knew I had found my path and, through the work, I have found my tribe.
We are the ones that ask women
- Are you having pain with intercourse?
- How do things feel after your delivery? Not the same? tell me more.
- Are you leaking with exercise? Is that keeping you from working out, picking up your kids, laughing with your friends?
I can help. That’s why I Bring the Downstairs Upfront
So, I went to PT school in 2007 with the passion to become a Pelvic PT. Upon graduation I dove headfirst into creating a pelvic health program from the ground up, for an outpatient physical therapy practice in the Asheville, NC area.
Continuing to expand my expertise over the past 11 years has been an amazing journey which led me to teach for the HERMAN & WALLACE PELVIC REHAB INSTITUTE and open my own pelvic health practice: PELVIC FORWARD PT in 2019. My goal is to provide comprehensive and patient directed care in the changing medical climate.
You work with a lot of new moms and moms-to-be. How does their work with you improve their health?
What a BIG question?! I think of myself first and foremost as an educator. Most often people know a lot about other parts of their bodies and function, but we know very little about everything in the middle. The pelvis, pelvic floor, pelvic organs, core.
I first start with the anatomy: where everything is and how it works. There are over 14 separate muscles to the pelvic floor and they each have different jobs! And, some aspects of pelvic function are very hard to see. Professionals instruct, show, and correct people many times how to perform a squat or a plank, but it’s assume women can use this complicated muscle group with limited verbal instruction, without assessment.
My goal is that people know not just the anatomy of their pelvic floor, but how their bladders work, their core, how the pelvis influences back pain, sexual function, core stability and more, so they can feel better and do more of what they want.
These struggles in life: pain with intercourse, urinary leakage, pre-postpartum issues, pelvic pain, urinary urgency and frequency, constipation, all have a large impact on our lives and daily functions. But, often are neglected or not discussed at all. I have dedicated my life to bringing these topics and treatments out of the basement and into the light.
Many women that come to me are able to:
- Reduce or eliminate urinary leakage
- Have pain free sex
- Heal or avoid lingering diastasis recti
- Run better, lift better
- Care for their homes and children without back, SI or pelvic pain
- Travel without fear of accidents or urgency,
- Get back into exercise after baby
- Get individual instruction to prepare for birth
What would you say are the top 2 reasons clients come to you?
I treat and work with a wide variety of things; from diastasis recti, to pain with sex, to preparing your pelvis and core for birth. The most common things people seek Pelvic PT at Pelvic Forward for are some kind of urinary issue: Urinary leakage, frequency, urgency etc. And some kind of pain to the area: low back, pubic, vaginal, sacroiliac, hip and more.
Tell me your favorite “success” story.
I know this is a lame answer, but it is the truth. The success of my patients is truly so special and important to me that I could never pick one.
Recently, the ones that have been sticking in my heart are the moms that tell me that after birth they felt “broken”. That they felt like their “bodies betrayed them”, and that healing has not only given that confidence back to be a mother but also to feel strong in themselves. That is just one of the reasons I love what I do.
What would you like women to know about working with a pelvic floor specialist during pregnancy, postpartum, and women’s health in general?
We are experts in anatomy, movement and function. Our goal to help you function at the highest you can and to be able to do what you want. It is not like going to the gynecologist.
We are going to take a lot of time talking to you to learn about not only what brought you in but what your goals are. We assess the function of your abdomen, hips, back and pelvis to see how everything works together.
You are not just a pelvic floor walking around, but a complex person. You will be given a program specifically for you to help address your particular needs and function better over time.
The function of the pelvis is just as important as the other aspects of our health, and we ask A LOT of it without much support. We go the dentist, many doctors, massage therapist, etc. and then we ask this part of our bodies to do such high-level things: run lift, daily bowel, bladder and sexual function, produce and birth a baby without giving it much support. Seeing a Pelvic PT should be the norm for all people not the exception.
Where can women get more information and how do they get started working with you?
My website has the most information about me and what is new with Pelvic Forward PT pelvicforward.com. I am frequently sharing videos and information on IG and FB as @pelvicforward and Pelvic Forward. There are links on my website and social media to make an appointment.