12 Feb The Importance of a Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor has become somewhat of an ‘unknown’ with many, whether people see it as a rude word and don’t want to know more, or because it is in the nether regions our British principles don’t allow us to naturally investigate further. In fact the pelvic floor is essential for good posture and controlling your bladder and bowel movements to name just a few.
If you have recently had a baby, have young children or ongoing problems in this area have you asked yourself when was the last I exercised my pelvic floor muscles?! Did you even know what they were or where they are!? I ask this because your pelvic floor muscles are a sheet like muscle group that passes through from your pubic bone back up to the base of the spine. This sheet like muscle forms the major foundation and support to your pelvis, bladder, uterus, rectum and vagina as they all sit neatly on top. A strong pelvic floor is good news for you, this keep your posture in good form, staying upright, can enhance your sex life and keeps your internal organs where they need to be.
Prenatally, one of the more significant issues during pregnancy can be traced back to a weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor. Strengthening this area can help to support the remainder of your pregnancy, the birth and beyond as well as your day to day functioning moving forward.
You may well be feeling some discomfort or even pain through your ‘normal’ day to day routine. Furthermore, backaches are classically assigned to pregnancy and labour, as well as incontinence and longer lasting issues as often discussed between new mothers over a coffee, ok maybe not. However, this certainly does not need to be a classic case as these concerns can be linked back to one thing, a weakened pelvic floor. By strengthening these core muscles at the pelvic floor can lead to a knock on effect of stronger functioning supporting muscle groups and organs.
If you can imagine a hammock comfortably sitting between two palm trees, well this can represent your pelvic floor between your pubic bone and tail bone. This floor is made from muscle groups, connective tissue and ligaments that attach to the pubic bone at the front, hip and sit bones at the side and spread towards the tail bone at the back.
This muscle group is neatly nestled at the base of the pelvic cavity where its main functions are to include bladder and bowel control, support an ever growing weight of a foetus, support the labour and birthing process as well as working as core muscles during everyday life including stability and strengthening of the spine. And if you would really like to know, as not many people do, the pelvic floor develops your physical intensity and passion during sex.
Ok quickly moving on, how did my pelvic floor become weak!? Well unfortunately a weakened pelvic floor does occur with age, this is inevitable. However, obesity, excessive heavy lifting, pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, frequent constipation can all impact on the stability and strength of your pelvic floor.
Due to its natural location it is difficult for us non-medics to fully identify and understand if our pelvic floor muscles are not as highly functioning or efficient as they are supposed to be. However there are some tell-tale signs that we can recognise to encourage us to seek support and advice regarding this. These can be experiencing urinary incontinence, the inability to regulate the need to go to the toilet, back issues, rectum, intestine, bladder prolapse, or concerns during sex such as a lowered intensity and concentration.
To help combat these symptoms and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles of course you can seek medical advice as we would encourage you to do so. However, as well as this you can improve your own core strength and stability with our six weeks pelvic floor course. We can also refer you to a specialist physiotherapist if required.
If you’re not as mobile as you used to be or a mother running after young children then leaving the house is not as easy as it once was. Home exercises are a great way to improve your range of motion, stability, core functioning as well as developing your pelvic floor muscles. ‘Kegel’ exercises specifically target and focus on the pelvic floor muscles, strengthening and developing them over time. To help you find the right muscle to focus on try to stop urination during midstream, if you can do that then you have used your pelvic floor muscles. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, at any time of day and anywhere, perfect during pregnancy, post baby and later in life.
Effective pelvic floor muscles also ensure a smooth and comfortable pregnancy for expectant women, in addition to restoring bladder and bowel control. A strong core muscle group as well as developing your pelvic floor encourage and increases blood circulation which helps the vagina and perineum to heal faster after vaginal delivery. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is highly recommended to improve your quality of life.