Pelvic Floor Powerhouse: Unveiling the Hidden Strength!

Colourful hammock suspended between two trees, illustrating the concept of a pelvic floor hammock.
Photo by janis blums / Unsplashrewri

Let's chat about an often overlooked but crucial aspect of your body - the pelvic floor.

Nestled deep within the pelvis, this mysterious network of muscles plays a pivotal role in your overall physical health.

It's time to shed some light and understand why it's so important for females to keep it in top shape.

Firstly, what is the Pelvic Floor?

Imagine a hammock of muscles, tissues, and ligaments that cradle your pelvic organs like a gentle hand. That's the pelvic floor! Spanning from the pubic bone to the base of the spine, and from one sitting bone to the other, this intricate system forms the bottom of your pelvic cavity.

Unraveling the Function

The pelvic floor performs an array of vital functions, making it one of the most hardworking muscle groups in your body:

  1. Supports the Organs: It acts as a sling, supporting your uterus, bladder, and rectum, preventing them from sagging downward.
  2. Bladder and Bowel Control: The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in controlling urinary control. A strong pelvic floor helps prevent embarrassing leaks and incontinence issues.
  3. Sexual Function: During arousal, these muscles relax, and they contract rhythmically during orgasm, enhancing sexual pleasure.
  4. Pregnancy and Childbirth: A well-toned pelvic floor helps ease pregnancy discomfort and aids in a smoother delivery. Postpartum, it aids in recovery and helps restore stomach muscle strength.
  5. Core Stability: The pelvic floor forms an integral part of the core muscles, supporting your spine and maintaining stability during various activities.

The Importance of Pelvic Floor Health for Females

Taking care of your pelvic floor health is a non-negotiable priority. Several factors can weaken these muscles over time, such as:

  1. Pregnancy and Childbirth: The weight and pressure of carrying a baby and giving birth can strain the pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Aging: As we age, natural wear and tear can lead to a weakening of these muscles.
  3. Lifestyle Factors: Chronic constipation, heavy lifting, obesity, and high-impact exercises can all impact pelvic floor health.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, especially during menopause, can contribute to pelvic floor issues.

Signs of a Weakened Pelvic Floor

Listen to your bodies! If you experience any of the following, it might be time to show some love to your pelvic floor:

  • Urinary Incontinence: Leaking urine when coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
  • Frequent Urination: The need to urinate frequently, even when your bladder isn't full.
  • Prolapse: A sensation of pressure or bulging in the pelvic area.
  • Sexual Discomfort: Pain during intercourse or reduced sexual satisfaction.
  • Constipation: Struggling with bowel movements and chronic constipation.

Caring for Your Pelvic Floor

Like any other muscle in your body, it is important to exercise and keep the muscle fit. Fear not, empowering your pelvic floor is easier than you think:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts additional pressure on your pelvic floor, so strive for a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to maintain healthy bladder and bowel function.
  3. Practice Proper Lifting Techniques: When lifting heavy objects, engage your core and use your legs, not your back.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If you experience persistent pelvic floor issues, don't hesitate to consult a pelvic health physiotherapist or healthcare provider.

Unlike your arms and legs, one may not be familiar with how to exercise this hidden muscle group. Kegel exercise is the answer! You will know it when you feel the muscle contraction in your pelvic floor.

Top tip: Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds and then relax for 2. Each session consists of 10 repetitions. Do this at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. 

So, there you have it….the pelvic floor, your body's hidden power, and its indispensable role in your overall health and happiness.