Your pelvic floor is important no matter what stage of life you are at. Whether you have never been pregnant, are pregnant for the first time (or last time!) or finished having children, your pelvic floor is hard at work every day to help you out. It is only fitting that this is one of the first things I talk about, as it affects to many women (and men)!
No matter what life stage you are in, start practicing your pelvic floor exercises daily! Prevention is so much easier than treatment when it comes to your pelvic floor.
So what is your pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is the group of muscles that line the bottom of your pelvis. They play a major role in continence, sexual function, pelvic stability and keeping your insides in!
A strong pelvic floor has also shown to decrease the time spent pushing in labour and a faster recovery after your baby is born.
What causes a weak pelvic floor?
Pregnant women have increased load on their pelvic floor which can stretch and weaken the muscles. Other things that can also cause weakening of these muscles are:
- Future pregnancies
- Ongoing coughing/ sneezing
- Heavy lifting and effort
- Being overweight
All these things involve added pressure in the abdomen that pushes down, stretches and strains the pelvic floor muscles.
What happens if I have a weak pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor helps with multiple areas. When your pelvic floor is weak or not functioning as it should, there are some issues that can arise. Some signs that your pelvic floor may need some help are:
- Leaking wee with effort (e.g. laughing, coughing, jumping)
- Passing wind – when you didn’t mean to
- Feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bladder or bowel after going to the toilet
- Pain in your pelvic
- Painful sex
- Prolpase – can feel like heaviness in your vagina or a bulge/ dropping feeling (more on this later!)
- Not able to “hold on” and accidentally leaking wee or poo – incontinence
What can I do to help?
Firstly, recognising you need help is the hardest part! Even though this is a very common problem, there are not a lot of people who talk about it – so good on you for reading this far!
Secondly, pelvic floor exercises are a good place to start. If you haven’t been taught how to do them properly, then make sure you contact me or book in to see your women’s health physio. It is super important that you are doing them correctly so you aren’t making the situation worse. These exercises are not easy to figure out if you’ve never been shown how.
Thirdly, book in to see your women’s health physio. A quick appointment will ensure you are on the right track and also allow for any further advice and treatment that might be tailored to your individual situation. If you experience any of the issues listed above, then there is likely more you can be doing to help.