Women's health isn't just about serving women. For Catherine, it goes beyond caring for women in various stages of life: the female athlete, women who are child-bearing and child-rearing, menopausal and post-menopausal. It's about taking a stand for half of the population that has been largely ignored in Western Medicine. She enjoys helping women (and underserved populations in general) to become both physically stronger and also strengthen their voices in claiming the right to a higher level of care. The epidemic of incontinence in the elderly and the problem of poor recognition and management of chronic pelvic pain are other examples of people who are typically under- or mis-treated that Catherine feels called to advocate for.
While women, older adults, and those who have suffered childbirth or sexual trauma are known to have a higher risk for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, anyone can be affected, as we all have a pelvic floor. If we are lucky, it supports multiple systems: core stability, sexual health, gastrointestinal mobility, voiding and continence. Dysfunction can cause problems in any or all of these areas, which means it can really decrease your quality of life.
As the pelvic floor is generally considered a taboo topic, many people are lacking quality information about how to keep theirs healthy. Catherine loves to bring awareness to pelvic floor health, and she is continually humbled by the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Catherine works with female, male, and transgender clients to improve their pelvic health. She is honored to help people integrate this area of the body into their wholeness.
For more on Catherine's thoughts about pelvic floor and women's health, you may want to her interview with Katlin Robinson for Life Transitions radio show.
To explore your own pelvic floor from the comfort of your home, check out out Catherine's blog post on how to do your own functional pelvic floor self-exam.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Cat for about 5 months for pelvic floor physical therapy (after working for ~2 years on and off with other physical therapists previously). Dr. Cat truly has taught me so much about my whole body and the power of the mind-body connection. I had been living with pelvic floor dysfunction/vaginismus for basically my entire life, and it wasn’t until seeing her that I felt like I could play an equal role in my own treatment. Dr. Cat always listened to my priorities and needs in our sessions. She helped me notice so many smaller “wins” and did a great job connecting those changes to my long-term goals. I have such a deeper understanding of the factors that can influence pain in my pelvic floor (as well as other parts of my body that are directly connected, like my hips, back, abdominals, glutes, and thighs). My treatment has consistently felt personalized, dynamic, and unique to my individual needs as a patient. Dr. Cat has encouraged me to honor my own body and focus on the work that kept me motivated and feeling positive toward my treatment outcomes. She also provided me with recommendations to other specialists when issues came up that felt outside of her scope of practice, which played a huge role in my success as a patient. Pelvic floor therapy is a treatment that really relies on trusting and respecting your therapist, and I would highly recommend Dr. Cat as a member for anyone’s pelvic floor team. My pain during sex/sexual activities has decreased significantly since I started working with Dr. Cat, and I feel so much more in control of my body and choices thanks to my treatment with her!
I was in a lot of pain with mobility issues. Catherine Lewan, DPT, was very understanding and made me feel comfortable about discussing all the ways that the pain was interfering with my daily activities. Cat employed several modalities to address my pain as well as muscle weaknesses (and areas of tightness!) that I hadn’t noticed before but to which my body was reacting. Cat provided me with options to consider regarding my plan of care and included my goals in each step of the treatment. She listened well and came up with a plan tailored to my needs. I now am more knowledgeable about my body and if my pain returns, I have some tools to use to try to address it. I know too that she is available in case my pain persists, and I need a re-evaluation. Working with Cat has convinced me that physical therapists can address the whole patient, not just a joint or limb that is in pain. Finally, Cat was always positive and encouraging. I could not have achieved my great results without her!
Kim– student PTA and experienced personal trainer and exercise instructor
I have worked with Catherine after each of my vaginal births, and also during one of my pregnancies. Her knowledge of the body’s systems is unparalleled. Each time I met with Catherine, I had multiple new tools and realizations about myself to work with on my own. She helped me heal from a mild bladder prolapse and reduce my diastasis recti to a subclinical level. I refer patients to Catherine on a weekly basis because I know she will have some ideas and skills to impart to just about anyone imaginable! Thank you, Catherine!
– Lela Beem, studio owner Grateful Yoga of Evanston, co-founder of The Amala School of Prenatal Yoga
I worked with Catherine when I broke my collar bone. She treated me for the muscles and movement around the break, but also helped me recover areas of strength that I had neglected because I was protecting the area around my collar bone. She helped me discover that I wasn’t using my back muscles properly to carry my baby. Her method incorporated pilates, yoga asana and strengthening exercises in addition to manual therapy. I was very worried about returning to yoga and never thought I would be able to do down-dog again. She helped me feel confident in my body again.