About the pelvic floor
What is the pelvic floor ?
The pelvic floor is a complex group of muscles and ligaments which support vital internal lower abdominal organs such as the bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel.
The organs have openings that lead to the external part of the body.
The urethra is the tube that leads from the bladder, the vagina is the opening just below the cervix from the uterus and the anus from the bowel. They pass through the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles attach to your pubic bone at the front and the tail bone at the back and from the base of your pelvis.
Why should I look after my pelvic floor ?
The pelvic floor muscles are probably the most difficult to exercise. Many of us want to see physical results after exercise, be it weight loss or muscle mass but exercising the pelvic floor doesn't give us either and many men and women go through life actually exercising the pelvic floor incorrectly or thinking they are exercising the pelvic floor muscles when in fact all they are doing is squeezing their buttocks.
The most effective way to start with good pelvic floor training is through your physiotherapist or personal trainer who specialises in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Pelvic floor exercises should be taught as young as 14. Dr Arnold Kegel created the very first set of pelvic floor exercises and they have been used throughout the world since 1948. Hence the name 'Kegel Exercise'. Getting into good habits of correct breathing during abdominal lift can help prevent downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
A weak pelvic floor is usually classed as a sign of 'aging' however there are many women from the age of 18 to 40 who have those 'oops moments' or those who do sport find that they rather sit out the star jumps 'just in case' of accidents.
Looking after the pelvic floor early on is proven to prevent conditions such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse , loss of labido, reduction of prostate enlargement in men.
If the pelvic floor weakens then the organs that it holds in place will start to descend and sag. If the organs descend into the wall of another organ then this is known as pelvic organ prolapse. The results can be devastating for women and many face hiding behind a brave face, where in fact the pelvic organ prolapse causes them incredible amount of pain, discomfort and embarrassment. Their lives are turned upside down as every day normalities become burdens they aren't able to do, such as moving furniture to clean or lifting their own baby.
Pffft I'm young and don't need exercise! Incontinence and those bits falling out is for my granny's age right?
WRONG! Did you know the most causes of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence issues are brought on by
Obesity (now over 1/3 of the world are deemed as clinically obese)
Difficult childbirth (women who have had episiotomies or/and problems post partum face pelvic floor issues
Hormonal changes - Not always menopause is to blame
Women who do impact sport (running, trampoline, tennis etc)
General lack of pelvic floor tone