Pelvic Floor: Let’s talk about it
The pelvic floor is still regarded as a taboo subject in today’s society but its functions are essential for both men and women in their daily life. Not only to help stabilise your core for high impact exercise but also for a healthy sexual life and improved confidence and wellbeing.
Grace osteopath and musculokeletal specialist Olivia de Maigret is an expert in women’s health, focusing on the concerns faced by 21st century women and practicing a methodology centred round healing and synchronising body and mind. We are constantly seeking her expertise on everything from jaw tension, back pain, swollen ankles and aching joints but here she shares her expertise on the pelvic floor – a muscle group you can’t afford to ignore…
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor refers to an often overlooked but vital muscle group that works in conjunction with your back and core to hold your internal organs and regulate continence, as well as playing an important role in sexual functions.
How can I improve its function?
Common activities to help prevent early dysfunction included Pilates and specific core exercises, which are often incorporated into Grace Pilates sessions. However, the best exercises and treatments will vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors – such as your natural alignment. Even if you are showing no signs of dysfunction, it’s worth chatting to a professional if you have any questions or concerns – particularly if you’re planning a family.
Why do I need to think about it?
We often overlook muscles, organs and body parts until they start causing us pain or discomfort – but maintaining a strong, healthy pelvic floor can vastly improve so many aspects of our overall wellbeing;
- Sex Life
To reach an orgasm there is a bit of work ladies; and physiologically all the muscles around uterus, vagina and pelvis contract, as well as blood flows in a vagina, to enhance an orgasm. Guess what? Orgasm is about power of the muscles! The better your ability to contract and relax your pelvic floor the more intense your orgasm could be. It also means you will become a lot more aware of your ‘inner you’ and understand how your body works.
- Improve confidence and emotional wellbeing
Being able to control accidental leaking, particularly after childbirth, can dramatically improve your state of mind and allow you to feel confident again, whether it’s playing sport or simply going about your daily life.
- Sports and exercise
The pelvic floor muscles are often referred to as the ‘diaphragm of the pelvis’ and support all your vital organs. Repetitive high impact exercise – such as running – requires extra strength.
- Pregnancy and childbirth
During pregnancy, the additional weight of carrying a baby requires your pelvic floor to be stronger, helping prevent stresses and strains. What about flexibility? We often talk about building strength and contracting the pelvic floor, but what about stretching it during labour? Good control and dexterity will allow an easier labour and recovery.
When should I be concerned about my pelvic floor?
It’s often during pregnancy that women seek expert support with their pelvic floor, but this isn’t the only time we should think about it; in today’s society many people lead increasingly sedentary lives, though we see increased participation in high impact sports such as running. Many of these can start to have an effect on the health of our pelvic floor long before – or indeed after – pregnancy.
Look out for the signs…
- Incontinence or wet pants
- Constant sensation of a full bladder or the urge to go to the toilet
- Do not feel comfortable or confident to exercise
- Going to the toilet more than 8 times per day
(This is by no means an exhaustive list, but highlights common signs. If you are at all concerned, please seek professional medical advice).
If like us, you’re interested to learn more and understand the best way to maintain a strong, healthy pelvic floor, do seek Olivia de Maigret’s expertise. You’ll find her at Grace Medical every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Christopher Campbell