Who needs to do Pelvic Floor exercises?
The answer is practically everyone.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a complex interplay of muscle, fascia and ligamentous structures. The muscular component is made up two layers of muscles; a superficial and a deep layer. These muscles work in conjunction with surrounding connective tissue to ensure that your pelvic organs are well supportedand lifted, (the deep layer)as well as assisting with continence through control of the urinary and anal sphincters (the superficial layer). The pelvic floor muscles are also important for sexual function in both women and men.
The pelvic organs consist of the bladder, uterus (for women) and bowel. Each organ has a passage to the external world via the urethra and anus in men; and the urethra, vagina and anus in women.
Why are these muscles important?
These muscles are important to support the organs that lie on it. When our pelvic floor is contracted the pelvic organs are lifted and sphincters tightened. The sphincters allow us to have conscious control over our bladder and bowel so that we can control the release of urine, faeces and flatus. This is what allows us to delay emptying until the time is convenient. Relaxing the pelvic floor allows passage of urine and faeces.
In women, the pelvic floor provides support for the baby during pregnancy and assists with childbirth.
There is also a relationship between the pelvic floor, abdominal and lower back muscles to help stability and support the lower back. Weakness in the pelvic floor can contribute to low back pain.
- Chronic coughing or sneezing
- Pregnancy and childbirth in women
- Prostate issues in men
- Repetitive heavy lifting
- High impact exercise
- The ageing process and hormonal changes (e.gmenopause)
- Straining when on the toilet
- History of back pain
- Previous injury to the pelvic region
As you can see, no one is immune to pelvic floor dysfunction. It can happen to all of us. In fact, 1 in 3 women will report having issues with their pelvic floor at some stage in their life.
How do I know if my pelvic floor is dysfunctional?
There are some common signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. These include:
- Accidental leakage of urine when you cough, sneeze, lift heavy objects, or during high impact exercise (termed stress incontinence)
- Having a sudden urge to void with potential to not make it to the toilet in time (termed urge incontinence)
- Constantly needing to go the toilet all the time which interferes with your usual day to day life
- Having difficulty emptying your bowel or bladder which may or may not be coupled with straining/pushing
- Inability to control your bowel or bladder, resulting in accidental voiding including inability to hold the urge to pass wind
- A prolapse
- In women, this may feel like a bulging sensation, heaviness/dragging or pulling between the legs
- In men, this may feel like a bulge in the rectum or the feeling of needing to use your bowels regularly
- Pelvic pain including pain during intercourse
Pelvic floor dysfunction can have a massive impact on quality of life. For many people, discussing their symptoms can be regarded as somewhat a taboo subject. However, pelvic floor dysfunction is very common. The good news is, the majority of symptoms can be reduced or rectified with the right treatment.
At Physionorth, we have a qualified Women’s Health physiotherapist Lauren who can help to assess and treat your pelvic floor dysfunction. In some cases, a referral to a specialist may be indicated, however, most people will respond well to conservative management.
Please call our friendly receptionists on 4724 0768 to book an appointment with Lauren if you feel you may have a pelvic floor dysfunction (no Dr Referral required).