The Pelvic Floor and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that run from the pubic bone (pubic symphysis) to the tailbone and sitz bones.
The pelvic floor is a highly vascular (a large blood supply), as well as a highly innervated (a lot of nerves), part of the body. The nerves, muscles, and connective tissue work to -
- keeps you continent
- provide support to the internal organs (bladder, uterus, rectum)
- stabilize the spine and pelvis, and
- to contribute to your sexual satisfaction.
- plays a major role in childbirth.
Because it is not visible, the pelvic floor is rarely thought of until there is a problem, and then it becomes the only thing you think about because it plays such a central role in so much of what you do.
Problems will often appear during pregnancy or after childbirth - such as incontinence, pelvic pain, organ prolapse, sexual challenges, back pain and/or hip pain. These problems, also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, can develop for a variety of reasons, such as
- overuse (muscles that don’t relax and that are tight and weak as a result),
- from under-use (muscles that lack tone and are weak),
- from injury (perineal injury or nerve injury from birth, sports, accidents, surgeries), or
- from poor posture and alignment.
The pelvic floor is your core's foundation and deserves much more attention than it gets!
Types of pelvic floor dysfunction and tips on how to prevent or treat them
Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. It is a common (not normal) side effect of pregnancy and birth. There are different types of incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs if you exert a force like running, laughing, coughing, sneezing, or jumping and urine leaks out a little bit at a time. Urge incontinence is when you feel like you have to go all the time, or feel like you can’t hold it, and you can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Mixed incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
50% of women at some point in their life will experience urinary incontinence and 33% will develop regular problems. 3.3 million Canadians suffer from incontinence and only 1 in 12 people seek out treatment because they are embarrassed to talk about it, or don’t know that help is available.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse is another challenge that is even less known and talked about than incontinence. 50% of women who have had children will have some degree of prolapse, and most are unaware due to the few symptoms, of this condition, in the early stages. Also, 50% of women with diastasis recti will have some element of pelvic floor dysfunction (mainly incontinence and prolapse).
Prolapse does not only occur in women who have had children, it can happen in women who have never been pregnant or had children pointing to other influences such as posture, lifestyle, age, hormones etc.
One of the functions of the pelvic floor is to help keep the pelvic organs in place. The position of the bladder, uterus and the rectum, is partially dependent on the strength and position of the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles. A weakened pelvic floor loses its ability to provide support which can interfere with the ability to hold the organs in their anatomical position. Unsupported organs will therefore start to descend into and, in severe cases, out of the vagina which is obviously something you want to avoid.
Incontinence and Prolapse ARE treatable!
I would like to invite you to my FREE Masterclass called Show your Pelvic Floor Who’s Boss!
In this masterclass you will learn -
- Tips for reducing or even eliminating symptoms associated with incontinence, prolapse and back pain.
- The most common mistakes women make when trying to cope with their pelvic floor challenges.
- The role of diet and exercise.
You may be thinking – Do I really Need this?
In my opinion...if you have a vagina, you absolutely need this information. Our pelvic floor has really important jobs and when not working well, it robs us of freedom, joy, and spontaneity.