How to Protect Your Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is an important, and yet often overlooked, part of the human anatomy. If you don’t know what or where your pelvic floor is, don’t feel bad. Most people probably don’t. Allow us to bring you up to speed…
Your pelvic floor is important because it supports the colon, bladder, and rectum, while simultaneously controlling when they relax or contract. Think for a second about what life would be like if all of this didn’t work properly.
And those muscles that contract during sex? That is also your pelvic floor at work.
Read on to learn more about what your public floor is, what it does, and how to take good care of it.
What Does Your Pelvic Floor Do?
Your pelvic floor is a network of ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue found in the base of your pelvis.
Medical professionals often compare it to a hammock or trampoline because it provides strong yet stretchy support to your bladder and lower intestines.
Your pelvic floor helps to control daily functions like urination and bowel movements. When there isn’t sufficient support from pelvic floor muscles, incontinence is the result.
Those pelvic floor contractions that happen during sex contribute to greater sexual satisfaction. Alternatively, a person’s ability to enjoy sex can be compromised by a weak pelvic floor.
In conjunction with your abdominal muscles, your pelvic floor muscles are also an important part of your core muscles as a whole. Together, these central muscles support balance, stability, and good posture.
What Can Go Wrong With Your Pelvic Floor?
The most common issue for people relative to pelvic floor health is weakness of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor weakness can be caused by any of the following:
- Chronic cough
- Chronic constipation or straining during bowel movements
- Nerve damage (from surgery, radiation, illness, or trauma)
- Pregnancy and childbirth (in women)
- Prostate issues (in men)
- Age-related hormone imbalances (e.g. estrogen deficiency in women)
Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness can include incontinence, prolapse of the pelvic organs, pain, and sexual dysfunction.
Having said all that, weakness isn’t always the issue when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. Sometimes the pelvic floor muscles are unable to relax. When this happens, the result can be constipation, painful urination, and pain during sex.
How to Prevent Pelvic Floor Problems
A healthy pelvic floor is essential for good health and overall well-being.
Steps you can take to support pelvic floor health include:
- Lifting Heavy Objects Properly –
Always lift with your legs, and never with your back. Keeping your back straight while you lift using your glutes and the big muscles in your legs will keep your pelvic floor muscles from being strained.
- Maintaining Good Posture –
When sitting or standing, keep your back straight and keep your core engaged so as not to put unnecessary stress on your pelvic floor.
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight –
Maintaining a healthy weight keeps stress off your pelvic floor and reduces the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
- Staying Hydrated and Including Fiber in Your Diet –
Adequate hydration supports healthy kidney function. Including enough fiber in your diet keeps your colon healthy and prevents constipation. Both of these reduce straining during elimination.
- Exercising Your Pelvic Floor Muscles –
Generally keeping yourself in good shape contributes to pelvic floor health. Beyond that, keeping your core muscles strong by doing sufficient abdominal work is particularly important for healthy pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises can be helpful if you want to target the pelvic floor muscles directly.
Be Good to Your Pelvic Floor and It Will Be Good to You
Pelvic floor dysfunction can have a significant impact on quality of life as people age. Don’t neglect this often-underappreciated part of your body. Follow the steps listed above to improve and protect your pelvic floor health now, and for many years to come.
To learn more, call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.