The Pelvic Floor Mystery
I recently attended a Pelvic Floor workshop run by an amazing lady called Jenny Burrell of Burrelleducation. This month’s blog is largely made up of her slides and pictures with a running commentary from me. I felt this information was too valuable not to share and if you already know it all then there will be someone you know who doesn’t, so do them a favour and show it to them!
1 in 3 women suffer, need I say more?!
The Pelvic Floor – Where is it? What does it look like? What does it do?
Looking at the first picture you can see why it is so vital that it stays strong!
The Roles of the Pelvic Floor
- Supports/stabilizes the pelvic organ outlets.
- Supports/stabilizes the pelvic organs against prolapse.
- Function is under the control of the Central Nervous System
- It has a role in sphincteric closure and release to prevent or aid bowel movements, urination and release of gas.
- When functional, helps to resist intra-abdominal pressure.
- Has a role in sexual function and plays a role in arousal/orgasm.
The Pelvic Floor as Part of the Core
Even breathing properly can help keep your pelvic floor muscles healthy!
As you exhale for a count of 8 you should feel an automatic tensioning of your abdominals, the muscles of your back (especially the low back region) and your pelvic floor both tightening and lifting. Try it.
Bladder + Bowel Dysfunction Terminology + Why Some Woman Hate Impact!
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI): an increase in intra-abdominal pressure results in a leakage of urine. Running, coughing, sneezing, jumping, vomiting, shouting, Tessfit classes …. sound familiar?!
- Overactive Bladder (OAB): An OAB will create a sense of urgency to urination and may be accompanied by another type of bladder problem.
- Urinary Frequency – more than 5-7 times a day and needing to urinate frequently in the night.
Bladder + Bowel Dysfunction Terminololgy + Why Some Women Hate Skipping!
- Nocturia – getting up to urinate once or more in the night after going to sleep.
- Insidious Leakage – usually due to poor urethral closing pressure that can occur due to trauma post catheterization (CSection/gynae surgeries), menopause, during breastfeeding.
- Post Micturition Dribble – a continued dribble of urine after the main bladder emptying has occurred.
- Nocturnal Enuresis – bed wetting.
When Do Women Develop ‘Issues’
Here you can see why a strong pelvic floor is essential before we go through pregnancy!
- Post Birth
- Post Gynae Operations
- Peri-to-Post Menopause
- “Once Post Natal, always Post Natal”
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
50% of women who have had a child will experience some degree of POP in their lifetime
The pelvic organs – bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum are all held in their optimal positions via an intricate network of tissue and ligaments. In the case of the Pelvic Floor muscles, attachment to bony structures of the pelvis such as the Coccyx and Pubis.
- POP occurs when these support systems for the individual organs fail, experience trauma and basically lack the ability to support the organ(s) in their optimal functional position.
What a Prolapse Feels Like…..
- A ‘falling down/dragging sensation’ in the pelvis.
- Low back pain
- Difficulty inserting or keeping a tampon in place
- A ‘bearing down’ inside the pelvis
- Difficulty with sex – laxity or difficulty penetration
- Difficulty evacuating the bowels fully/satisfactorily
- Anything that just doesn’t feel like it did before……..
Ultimately, GET HELP, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t….silence and worry isn’t an option!
Who knows what Kegals are? The traditional pelvic floor exercise, here is a reminder.
- Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you’ve got the right muscles. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
- Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
So simple but so very hard to prioritise and therefore see any results!
New Surveys are showing that kegals alone are much less effective than movements which encourage core strength and good breathing. I am so pleased these are the areas that I consistently nag you all about.
Read more of my posts about Core excercise
If you have any questions about this blog or want guidance on where to go for help, please do get in touch.