The pelvic floor muscles, like the core muscles, are used so frequently in daily actions that you’re probably unaware that you’re using these muscles. However, unlike the core muscles, the pelvic floor muscles are deep muscles that are not visible like your ‘six-packs’ and therefore often ignored.
Your pelvic floor muscles might be weak and ‘asleep’ if you’ve left them dormant especially with childbirth, surgery or hormonal changes that comes with age. On the other hand, some may have tight pelvic floor muscles caused by trauma, surgery or habitual movements that causes lower back and hip pain.
How do you know if your pelvic floor muscles are weak? You may:
- leak urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running
- fail to reach the toilet in time
- pass wind from either the anus or vagina when bending over or lifting
- have a reduced sensation in the vagina
- have tampons that dislodge or fall out
- a distinct bulge at the vaginal opening
- a sensation of heaviness in the vagina
What are the pelvic floor muscles for?
Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis.
The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, uterus and bowel. They help to control the bladder and bowel movement, and adequate strength and tension is also needed for sexual function.
During vaginal childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles, nerves and tissues stretch to allow the baby to pass through. After childbirth, many women experience postpartum pain and even incontinence because of their weakened muscles.
Besides pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor can be weakened by prostate cancer treatment, obesity, chronic constipation and ageing.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Pelvic floor exercises offer women many benefits, including a lower risk of vaginal prolapse, better bowel and bladder control and better sexual satisfaction. However, many people that I see have lost the engagement of their pelvic floor, or are not able to identify their pelvic floor muscles.
Men & the Pelvic Floor
Do men have a pelvic floor? Yes, of course! Strengthening pelvic floor muscles around the bladder, penis, and back passage can help with prostate health and incontinence (yes, men are not spared from incontinence). The prostate naturally gets bigger with age and may cause issues. By strengthening the pelvic floor, you’ll minimise the complications that can arise beyond 40.
The first step towards pelvic floor strengthening is to correctly identify your pelvic floor muscles. Find out how you can locate your pelvic floor in 3 easy steps or get in touch with our skilled consultants at Orchard Clinic.
This article was first posted on medium.com
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