As a female it’s hard not to hear about the pelvic floor. You’ve probably got friends who have told you how important it is to do your pelvic floor exercises, especially when pregnant. Maybe you’ve seen women who avoid doing burpees in the gym – chances are they don’t want to leak on their leggings. And there’ll most definitely be someone in your coffee shop who has a pelvic floor ‘issue’…..even if they don’t talk about it.
Here we have a guest post from Kelly Jameson from Activate Physio for Women – Kelly, an expert in all things pelvic floor, is talking all about how you can strengthen this important, but often neglected, body part.
What is My Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscles and connective tissue. They stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back to the pubic bone at the front.
It’s super important to keep your pelvic floor in top shape – whatever your age. Why? Because a strong pelvic floor:
- Supports the pelvic organs: bladder, uterus and bowel;
- Helps you control your bladder and bowel;
- Gives you confidence during movement, especially exercise; and
- Ultimately…..keeps you dry.
What Can Weaken My Pelvic Floor?
A weak pelvic floor increases the risk of bladder and bowel leakage, and pelvic organ prolapse. It can weaken due to:
- Not keeping the muscles active (like any other muscle)
- Pregnancy and birth
- Heavy lifting
- Persistent coughing
Pelvic Floor Facts:
- 1 in 3 women in Australia experience bladder leakage. This is not normal, and no woman should have to put up with incontinence.
- Only 30% of women who suffer bladder leakage seek professional help.
- Around half of women are not able to activate their pelvic floor correctly, which may be making the situation worse!
- Approximately 80% of women’s symptoms can be improved/cured with guidance and treatment from a Women’s Health Physio.
And if the above doesn’t motivate you to do your pelvic floor exercises then how about this……a stronger pelvic floor can lead to a better orgasm!!!
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Exercises need to be tailored to you as an individual depending on many factors including:
- Your level/type of exercise;
- If you’re pregnant/recovering from birth;
- Whether you have symptoms of leakage or prolapse;
- How strong your pelvic floor is; and
- Whether you can get a pelvic floor contraction (many struggle).
How to Prevent Pelvic Floor Problems
Whether you have symptoms you’re keen to treat or are looking for preventive guidance it’s a good idea to seek the guidance of an expert:
- In an ideal world all women would get their pelvic floor function checked by a Women’s Health Physio.
- We know this is a big ask but if you have any specific symptoms, it’s strongly recommended that you seek help from a Women’s Health Physio who can accurately assess and treat your symptoms.
- If you are pregnant and past the first trimester, a Women’s Health Physio can help you ensure that you are in the 50% of the female population who are contracting your pelvic floor correctly. Quite possibly the only thing worse than not doing pelvic floor exercises when pregnant, is doing them incorrectly!
- Once the baby is here and you’ve survived the whirlwind to reach 6 weeks, a Women’s Health Physio can thoroughly assess your ability to return to exercise. They will guide you as to which types of exercises your pelvic floor is ready for and minimise the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
Activate Physio for Women is a specialist women’s health physio clinic established by Kelly Jameson. It’s located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and can help you on the journey to a stronger pelvic floor.