Why are healthy pelvic floor muscles important?
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs and help control urinary and bowel movements. Strengthening these muscles can have several benefits, including improved bladder control, reduced risk of pelvic organ prolapse, and better sexual function. Other potential benefits include improved digestion , increased core stability and support for the back, and reduced risk of chronic pain in the pelvic area. Overall, maintaining healthy pelvic floor muscles is important for maintaining good overall health and quality of life.
1. How do we keep our pelvic floor healthy and functioning well?
For the pelvic floor to work at its best it needs to be flexible and strong. It also needs to be able to activate at the times when we need it, but otherwise stay relaxed.
2. How do we keep our pelvic floor muscles flexible?
The pelvic floor muscles are not easily stretched. If you are assessed by a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and found to have a “tight” or “tense” pelvic floor, your Physiotherapist may perform some manual loosening techniques in the clinic and for you to learn to do at home.
One of the best things you can do yourself to loosen or “relax” your pelvic floor is to regularly perform diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation of your whole body, including the pelvic floor. Check out our video that demonstrates diaphragmatic breathing.
3. How can we strengthen our pelvic floor muscles?
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are a type of exercise that can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are located in the pelvic region and support the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
It is important to engage in regular physical activity and to perform pelvic floor exercises that involves contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them. Check out our videos that demonstrate a series of these exercises.
4. How do you get your pelvic floor to activate at the right time?
Firstly, you need to be able to recognise when you contract your pelvic floor muscles, and then relax them. Our pelvic floor muscles should be relaxed most of the time, but a common example of when you should engage your pelvic floor muscles is when you are lifting something.
Your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can guide you to relearning the appropriate times when to engage and when to relax your pelvic floor.
5. What is the relationship between pelvic floor and core muscles?
The core muscles are a group of muscles that are located in the trunk of the body and help to support the spine and pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles are part of the core muscles, along with the diaphragm, abdominal muscles and the muscles of the lower back.
Together, these muscles work to support the spine and pelvis, and to provide stability and strength to the body. A strong flexible pelvic floor is important for overall core strength and stability. How you breathe and use your diaphragm is also key to ensuring efficient use and management of your core.
6. What is pelvic floor therapy?
Pelvic floor therapy is the area of physiotherapy that focuses on the muscles of the pelvic floor. In pelvic floor therapy, our specialist physiotherapist will assess your condition and recommend a course of treatment and exercise to improve the strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles. This can help with a range of conditions, including urinary incontinence and pelvic pain.
7. What about your pelvic floor and menopause?
During menopause, the body goes through several hormonal changes that can affect the pelvic floor muscles. In particular, the decline in oestrogen levels that occurs during menopause can lead to a weakening of these muscles, which can increase the risk of pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. Check out our other articles covering how to address physical and mental health during menopause.
PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne Recommendation
If you have recently experience any pain in your pelvic area or you are concerned about urinary incontinence, contact one of our specialist physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne and get it checked out.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997