Pelvic Floor or Pelvic Flop?
Whether you are 18 or 80, whether or not you have had children, your pelvic floor is one of the most important muscle structures in the body. We all have one, yet few actually know what it is for and where it is, and even fewer know how to exercise it. This is just one of the reasons men and women experience incontinence and or prolapse problems.
Most women are under the illusion that childbirth is the only cause of weak pelvic floor muscles (PFM). There are many reasons why this set of muscles may become weak, and mostly there is a combination of factors involved.
The pelvic floor is the most difficult part of the body to exercise, primarily because you can't see it or see it physically getting stronger or see any structure change unlike the other muscles of the body.
It comprises of layers of muscle which attach to the pubic bone (front bone), the sitting bone and the coccyx (tail bone). Its hammock structure supports vital organs such as the uterus (womb), the urethra (the tube which allows urine to flow from the bladder out of the body) and the bladder.
The outer layer of muscles help close the vaginal lips, and they direct blood flow to the clitoris. The pubococcygeus muscle is the muscle which contracts during intercourse and it involuntary contracts during orgasm; it is also the muscle which is needed to control the involuntary loss of urine. The pubococcygeus muscle is what you squeeze and exercise if you want to stop the flow of urine mid stream.
Most have heard about kegel exercises but do you know how to do them. Many women are told by their doctor, “Don't forget to do your kegel exercises.”
Sadly most doctors assume women automatically know how to do this set of exercises, whilst in reality, most women are too embarrassed to tell the doctor they have no clue what a kegel exercise is.
Incostress can help you identify the correct muscles to effortlessly exercise them any time you.
Ask the friendly team at Incontinence Shop for more information about how to use IncoStress.
Some of you may have experienced unexpected urine leaks when, lifting, coughing, sneezing or doing any physical exercise. One reason may be due to a weak pelvic floor. The longer you leave it, the worse it will become. Hiding the problem with pads will not make the problem go away, you really need to start training those muscles.
The first step is to speak to your medical professional. Physiotherapists, midwives, and continence nurses are an amazing group of professionals who take the time not only to explain what is going on but also they are trained in how to train you to exercise the correct muscles. Another reason to speak to your healthcare advisor is that you may be over exercising this area and may cause more damage than good. Remember the PFM is a muscle like any other muscle in the body and it can get fatigued and over worked.
3 types of pelvic floor - too tight - too slack and just right. Which type are you?
Imagine your pelvic floor like the levels of a house.
Pelvic floor number 1. The first level is like a trampoline, taught enough to house and support those vital organs, yet flexible enough that when you lift up your baby, or grocery shopping, when you sneeze, cough or laugh the natural movement is that it lowers and then is able to return back to its natural position. There is no involuntary leakage with this level if the muscles are strong enough.
Pelvic floor number 2. The basement level sits lower than pelvic floor number 1 and shows signs of weakness when you lift anything, sneeze, cough or laugh by means of losing urine involuntarily. Because pelvic floor number 2 sits lower, it is unable to return to the first level naturally. This type is prone to prolapse.
Pelvic floor number 3. The second floor level is probably the one less spoken about and the least known about. The tightness can cause pain on urination and painful sex sensation. You may have heard of Chronic Pelvic Pain syndrome; this is where the pelvic floor has been chronically tensed through possible over working the pelvic floor during exercise. Other causes are due to stress, anxiety or trauma. Victims of rape and child abuse are reported to have CPPS.
Over working these muscles during exercise is just as damaging as under-working them. Those using electrical stimulation to tighten the pelvic floor muscles would be advised to speak to your medical advisor and let them gauge how you are fairing with the exercises.
There are many products on the market which all claim to help; only your medical advisor would be able to tell which suits you. One preferred product recommeneded by women’s health physiotherapists and doctors is Incostress, a medical device pessary clinically approved to control stress incontinence and allows the user to identify and exercise the correct muscles. Incostress controls the involuntary loss of urine, supports the urethra and bladder neck and supports the organs into their natural anatomical position. It’s also the only pessary that actually helps strengthen the pelvic floor whilst controlling the involuntary loss of urine.
Recommended reading to help you achieve a stronger pelvic floor, Hold It Sister by Australian lead physiotherapist Mary O'Dwyer.
Which one do you have? A pelvic floor or a pelvic flop?
Gaynor Morgan designed Incostress - a medical device to control female incontinence and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. She strives to improve the quality of life for women everywhere as is a strong believer that women should not suffer in silence. Her website http://www.incostress.co.uk is full of information and guidance on how to improve your quality of life. Weak muscles not only lead to incontinence but can leave families torn apart due to the problems that surround pelvic floor dysfunction. This can lead to incontinence,depression, sexual dyfunction, and even pelvic organ prolapse. Gaynor works closely with physiotherapists and urogynaecologists world wide, expanding her knowledge and raising awareness about this problem.