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Pelvic Floor Power - Everything You Need to Know About Your Pelvic Health

Pelvic floor health is a topic that is often overlooked or considered taboo in many circles. However, understanding the anatomy and function of the pelvic floor is crucial for overall health and well-being. Let's dive into the intricacies of pelvic floor anatomy and why it's so important to normalize conversations about this vital part of the body.

What physical problems can arise from neglecting pelvic floor health?

Neglecting your pelvic floor health can lead to a range of physical problems, including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, weak posture and sexual dysfunction. It can also be linked to your mental health, often when you work on overcoming the physical symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction you will notice anxiety decrease and stress management becomes easier. These issues can significantly impact your quality of life and overall well-being. To prevent these problems, it's important to maintain strong and healthy pelvic floor muscles through exercises and proper care.

What is the role of pelvic floor muscles in the body?

The pelvic floor has five main ‘jobs’ to support the body, arguably more than most muscle groups in our body, making them vitally important to take care of! The muscles play a vital role in supporting the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles help control urinary and bowel function. It is also responsible for your sexual function and supports orgasm and erection of the clitoris. This muscle group acts as a sump pump for blood and lymph as well. And, finally it is our foundation of stability and coordination in our body, meaning when something is off down there you very likely have symptoms that are related, showing up elsewhere in your body too.

Strong pelvic floor muscles are essential for maintaining continence, supporting the pelvic organs, and enhancing sexual pleasure. Regular exercise and proper posture can help strengthen these muscles and prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.

Why is it crucial to normalize conversations about genitalia and the pelvic floor?

Normalization of conversations about genitalia and the pelvic floor is essential for breaking down stigma and promoting awareness of pelvic health issues. Many people feel uncomfortable discussing topics related to the pelvic floor, which can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor disorders. By encouraging open and honest conversations about pelvic health, we can empower individuals to seek help when needed and take proactive steps to maintain strong and healthy pelvic floor muscles.

How do you connect to your pelvic floor?

There are MANY cues to help you connect to your pelvic floor and different cues and strategies will work for different bodies. My favourite cues are:

  •  imagine you are lifting a blueberry up into the vagina on an exhale and put it back down on your inhale.

  • On an exhale think about lifting the perineum up off your seat while midline ‘zips up’, inhale perineum comes back down

  • Pretend to stop the flow of urine (do NOT actually stop your flow during urination)as you exhale

You should NOT feel your glutes, legs or stomach muscles contracting, if you do this is a compensation pattern and highlights weakness in the pelvic floor. Basically if someone was watching you they should not be able to see you doing Kegels.

Is your pelvic floor weak, tight or both?

There is so much confusion about pelvic floor weakness and tightness so let’s break this down. A tight pelvic floor IS a weak pelvic floor. We need full range of motion in our muscles to create and maintain strength. You don’t want to be too tight, this is referred to as a hypertonic pelvic floor and can be the reason your experience urinary leakage or urge, painful intimacy, hip and knee pain, TMJ symptoms, constipation, etc. A hypotonic pelvic floor (often what we think of as weak) has very low muscle tone and are lengthened when at rest, it also struggles to respond to voluntary contractions and does not possess the motor skills required of our pelvic floor to function well. Symptoms associated can include urinary incontinence, orgasm dysfunction, vaginal laxity, pelvic organ prolapse, and more.

You might have noticed some of these symptoms overlap, highlighting WHY it is so important to work with a professional and be assessed properly on YOUR unique pelvic floor, no matter if or how you’ve given birth.

Understanding pelvic floor anatomy is key to maintaining overall health and well-being. By addressing common questions and concerns about pelvic health, we can break down barriers to communication and promote awareness of the importance of pelvic floor health. I invite you to share your experiences or questions about pelvic floor anatomy in the comments below. Let's continue the conversation and empower each other to prioritize our pelvic health.


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