Team work for a healthy pelvic floor.
Unfortunately, when we have problems controlling peeing, we are usually told “you need to strengthen your pelvic floor”. This advice does not recognise the complexity of dealing with pelvic floor issues.
The body functions in a rhythm, each part coordinating with the others. The pelvic floor is no exception. It’s most certainly not a standalone muscle that needs only to become stronger. That is an outdated idea: it’s time to update. Some women may leak because their muscles are weak or traumatised, but for many the muscles can be over-active, or tight, or simply not supported by team work from other muscles. Here are some important considerations when dealing with pelvic floor problems.
Knowledge is power.
When dealing with pelvic floor issues, the more women know about their pelvic floor, the less symptoms they experience. Simply gaining an understanding of this part of your body can make all the difference. By building connections and awareness, you gain control.
Correct function is not forced.
Being able to relax the pelvic floor and let it do its thing is essential. Trying to protect it or prevent leaks and prolapse by holding it tight can be a stress, leading to more pelvic floor problems. If doing arm exercises a few times per week is good for the shoulder, would holding your arm out all day long be better? Of course not! The same concept applies to the pelvic floor. If doing a few kegels (contracting of the pelvic floor) helps the pelvic floor, doing them all day will be better, right? No! The body can get very cranky when we over-do anything. Holding your pelvic floor tight (even if it’s not conscious) can be a significant barrier to resolving leaks and prolapse. (Learning HOW to appropriately relax the pelvic floor may not be easy! A good place to start is feeling a easy in breath moving right down to the pelvic floor).
Surrounding structures play a huge role.
If you cannot feel that easy in breath expanding your pelvic floor, the team work of all the surrounding muscles is probably not going on… It’s often not the pelvic floor’s fault. Lazy hips, lack of diaphragm expansion, glute clenching, collapsed arches, posture, busy hip flexors, too much or too little core pressure…? The pelvic floor is like that mum that’s trying to do everything without any help. The pelvic floor will work overtime because it’s in the middle helping everyone out. Just as no one can consistently be super-mammy: Don’t blame the poor pelvic floor when it says “enough!”
Pelvic floor issues are not a life sentence.
Pelvic floor issues are common but should not be considered normal, or inevitably worsening. Back pain is common but not considered a normal part of life. Our bodies have a tremendous ability to recover and adapt, whether it’s your back or pelvic floor don’t give up!
Healing prolapse is possible.
Prolapse can be reversible. Is it always possible for everyone? No. There are too many factors involved. But, is it possible for some? Yes! Even if a surgical intervention becomes necessary, a better connection and understanding of pelvic floor function will mean a better outcome.
Leaks can be fixable.
Most leaks with coughing, running, and jumping can be fixed. If someone tells you that’s just a part of being a mum/woman/old, please cover your ears & say “la la la la”! They do not know enough.
Blanket recommendations are bad.
Blanket recommendations for the pelvic floor, especially for prolapse, do not make sense. Some women can run without making prolapse worse, but they can’t swim. Others can swim, but can’t stand for long periods. Others can lift a heavy weight, but can’t sit at a computer. Every person’s body is different. Remember the first point: knowledge is power!
Would you like to know more about dealing with pelvic floor issues?
Check out the Pelvic Floor Restore packages or get in touch for a truly personalised approach with my one to one sessions.
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