CenteredSpineJointSubmark2C

Share This Post

Email
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Print

The Pelvic Floor: What’s all the Hype About?

What’s all this talk about the pelvic floor? 

The pelvic floor is becoming a little trendy these days. In some ways good, but  in others not so much. I’m here to answer your questions about what this hype is all about…

So let’s start with the basics. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that line the opening of the pelvis. They layer in there like a bowl and support your organs while they also work intricately with the openings of the pelvis and the genitalia to control bladder, bowel and sexual functions. When these muscles are working well, we really don’t think about them much. They work in coordination with our abs and other surrounding muscles, so typically we aren’t needing to work them in isolation. They pretty much just fly under the radar performing all the necessary functions we need to go about our day clean, dry and aroused (if the situation permits, of course). 

Like many things in our life, we take our body for granted. We expect everything to be in working condition even though we don’t always devote necessary time to maintenance. Our body is resilient, but it needs a tune-up every once and a while as it compliantly goes with the flow of our daily lives. 

Are you a generally stressed out and tense person? Your pelvic floor probably feels that too. 

Have you had a couple of kids and literally have barely had time to go to the bathroom by yourself, let alone get back to your regular workouts? Your pelvic floor likely feels that too. 

Or maybe you’re a cross fit athlete that has been told that leaking is just “bladder sweat” and a sign of a really heavy, successful lift. When in reality, it’s your pelvic floor weeping from the lack of attention it’s getting compared to your other “show” muscles…

Time for a reality check… 

When I started my business, I took a prn job in a nursing home and let me tell you, continence is a rare gem there. That environment honestly makes Depends seem inevitable. I really hope they start to up their color game before I hit my 80’s, or could we at least something lower profile, maybe a thong version? All jokes and scare tactics aside, I’m really just here to bridge the knowledge gap and give you some awareness of what’s happening down there and how to maintain control for as long as physically possible. If not for your own health’s sake, then at least to avoid the fashion police. 

As much as this topic is so not glamorous to talk about, it’s also not glamorous to be peeing your pants either. So when should we intervene? 

THE SOONER THE BETTER. 

If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and you have literally any pelvic health concerns, I can tell you that carrying around a watermelon does not do you any favors. Think of your torso like a soda can. It responds to pressure in the same way: too little pressure and we don’t have any support (the can crushes with any additional load), too much pressure and things are busting out the bottom. The literal translation of this being pelvic organ prolapse where we see contents of the pelvic cavity (i.e. your bladder, rectum, uterus etc) beginning to exit the premises. 

So how do we reach this pressure happy medium? Here are 3 simple steps you can take today: 

  1. Do yourself a favor and learn how to diaphragmatically breathe and do it mindfully daily. To start, put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. You should feel movement in both areas that is fairly equal. Next, put your hands on your rib cage. You should feel another ⅓ of movement here: ⅓ belly, ⅓ chest, ⅓ ribs – let that soda can fully expand. 
  2. Stop holding your breath when you exercise or lift heavy things. Work on breathing out as you do the work. This becomes even more important when you are a pregnant mama with an already increased pressure system. 
  3. Stop hovering over the toilet. I know it may seem gross to sit on the toilet seat, but your butt touches a heck of a lot less than your hands during the day. Your pelvic floor cannot relax if you are a hoverer. And who pees on the seat??? HOVERERS. Feel called out? Good. Get yourself one of those papery seat covers and sit your booty down.

Is it ever too late to work on your pelvic floor? This is very unlikely. 

Even in severe cases we can typically make substantial improvements to function. For example, in the instance of pelvic organ prolapse, we can typically see an improvement by one grade – meaning that things are moving back towards where they belong rather significantly. Women with multiple kids that eventually find the time to make it into PT typically can still have excellent results in reducing incontinence, managing pain and improving strength – even if it takes their kids being in high school to get there. 

Pelvic PT is the gold standard treatment for stress and urge incontinence – i.e. the leaking many people experience with impact or the frequent and overwhelming desire to rush to the toilet and barely (or not) making it in time. Pelvic PT is also a significant player in reducing pain locally and many times the missing piece in stubborn low back or hip pain. 

So now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about your pelvic floor, do yourself a favor and give it the attention it deserves. We can all aspire for higher level fashion than the bulky, beige Depends and avoid a heck of a lot of other problems on our aging journey to get there. 

Article written by:

Dr. Kelly Mueller, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr Kelly is a provider within the Centered Atmosphere. If you would like to learn more or have questions for Dr. Kelly. Feel free to reach out to her here.

More articles

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com