No matter what your age or stage of life it is important to take care of and exercise your pelvic floor.
It is a common misconception that the only time in our lives when we need to think about exercising the pelvic floor is when we are pregnant, or immediately postnatally. While that part of our body is very much in the fore-front of our minds we feverishly work away at our pelvic floor and slowly as life with a toddler takes over it becomes less and less of a priority and we eventually stop. I am sure those of you that have never been pregnant think you have dodged a bullet and your pelvic floor is not something you will ever have to think about – sadly this is not the case.I hope that by reading this newsletter you will gain a better understanding of this extremely important part of your anatomy. Your pelvic floor is just like any other muscle in the body it needs regular exercise to stay strong and if you abuse it, it will become dysfunctional.
Living with a leaky pelvic floor is really not fun and it is NOT normal. Want to learn more…. read on!
WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel within the pelvis.
The openings from these organs, the urethra from the bladder, the vagina from the uterus and the anus from the bowel pass through the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles attach to your pubic bone at the front and the tail bone at the back and from the base of your pelvis – forming a supportive hammock.
WHAT DO THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES DO?
As well as supporting the pelvic organs, the pelvic floor is responsible for:
There are different stages of our life when the pelvic floor is more vulnerable than others:
When the pelvic floor muscles are weak or stretched you can develop:
Pelvic floor disorders often start during pregnancy, triggered by the weight and pressure of the baby and associated postural changes. There are also hormonal shifts and anatomical changes that result from giving birth, including stretching and possibly tearing or cutting of the vaginal muscles or perineum (such as an episiotomy). It is important to not only address the weakness in the pelvic floor but to correct any postural changes and muscle-skeletal dysfunctions at the same time. REMEMBER – it take 9 months to make a baby and it takes at least that to recover. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
THE PELVIC FLOOR AND SEX
Strengthening your pelvic core can improve your sex life and satisfaction a lot. That’s because the pelvic floor muscles surround the vagina as well as the clitoris.
Pelvic floor strength increases stimulation during intercourse due to increased blood flow, nerve sensitivity, and circulation to the area, which results in more sensitivity to touch. Research shows women with strong vaginal muscles achieve better, longer and multiple orgasms as well as increased ability to control the timing of them. So whats not to like about that!!
PELVIC FLOOR AND MENOPAUSE
As we learned last week during peri-menopause, women experience a decrease in oestrogen that can initiate thinning and weakening of the pelvic muscles and connective tissues. This makes women more susceptible to loss of tone, elasticity and suppleness in pelvic floor tissues.
As your body’s hormones fluctuate through perimenopause, pelvic floor changes can still occur whether you’ve given birth or not.
This is a time to feel empowered, DON’T REGRET GROWING OLDER IT’S A PRIVILGE DENIED TO MANY, embrace life and move. Now more than ever exercise is vital to your overall health, not just for your pelvic floor but for your brain, your bones and your heart. Do the exercise that makes you happy – dance, walk, swim – but its crucial to keep moving.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO A HEALTHY PELVIC FLOOR?
It is recommended that all women exercise their pelvic floor muscles every day throughout life, to prevent weakness or improve strength. Exercising weak muscles regularly, over a period of time can strengthen them and make them work effectively again. Regular gentle exercise, such as walking can also help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
NB – IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING PAIN IN YOUR PELVIC AREA, WHICH SEEMS TO BE AGGRAVATED BY EXERCISING IT – YOU MAY HAVE A HYPERTONIC PF (too tight) – PLS SEE A WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIO OR DR FOR THIS.