Pelvic floor problems are way more common than you can imagine. One of the reasons you may not know about this is..? You guessed it right! Because we don’t talk about them!
Numerous people suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.
The need for awareness about this topic is paramount. That’s why I got in touch with Ms. Suzanne Ko, a certified postnatal fitness specialist.
In our blog today, we have come up with the FAQ’s people have about Pelvic health, and the answers to them!
1. What is pelvic health? What all does it include?
Pelvic health starts with the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the base of our core. Along with its team members (diaphragm, transverse abdominis, multifidus), the pelvic floor helps to stabilize the body. A well-functioning pelvic floor assists us in performing daily activities and exercise.
2. Are some women more prone to pelvic health issues than others?
This can be due to many factors, including genetics, pregnancy, lifestyle habits, heavy physical work, chronic constipation, obesity, long-term coughing or asthma, or hysterectomy. Pelvic health issues do not just affect women, but also men. They can arise as early as adolescence.
3. What are the most common pelvic health problems?
The most common pelvic health problems are:
• Diastasis recti – A weakening of the connective tissue between the “six-pack” muscle.
• Pelvic organ prolapse – A condition where the organs of the pelvis descend toward or through the opening of the vagina due to a loss of support from the pelvic floor muscles, fascia, and ligaments.
• Incontinence (urinary, fecal and/or gas)
• Pelvic pain
• Painful sex
• Back, hip, sacrum, or coccyx pain
These pelvic floor conditions do not just apply to women who have had a baby. They can also present in high-level athletes and some pelvic floor conditions present in men as well.
4. How will I know if I have a pelvic health issue?
Some will have a pelvic floor issue, but may not present with symptoms. Symptoms to look out for are signs of leaking, heaviness or pressure in pelvis, back pain or a feeling of incomplete bowel or bladder emptying.
5. Is regular screening necessary? How often?
Getting assessed by a physical therapist is a great way in actively being preventative when it comes to your overall health. It is highly recommended to get assessed by a women’s health pelvic floor physical therapist after your postpartum visit. Once cleared by your physical therapist, I recommend doing a yearly screen.
6. When should I visit the doctor if I feel I have a pelvic health issue?
I recommend seeking out a pelvic floor physical therapist if you feel that you have a pelvic health issue. A pelvic floor physical therapist addresses the the body as a whole, versus a doctor that will only treat the symptoms.
7. What can I do to improve my pelvic health?
Pelvic health starts with breathing and alignment. Pay attention to how you move throughout the day, which is more important than the hour you spend at the gym. This includes how you sit, stand, walk, pick up objects, perform household chores, pick up/hold/carry your children and how you use the bathroom. Try to keep your ribcage stacked over your hips and bum untucked, while performing any of these activities. Train for function at the gym, so you can perform your activities of daily living – hinging, squatting, pulling, pushing, rotation, loaded carry. Good nutrition is also an important factor, especially for new moms healing postpartum. Sufficient fiber in the diet will help prevent constipation.
8. In a country like India, what hygiene methods should I follow to have good pelvic health?
Elevating your feet (using a step stool) when you eliminate prevent excessive straining on the bladder and bowel. Hovering over the toilet can also put strain on the pelvic floor.
9. How do I maintain pelvic health as I age? (At different ages)
Implementing the changes I have suggested will help you to be proactive in your pelvic health, especially as you age. Changes in hormones in women as we age will increase pelvic floor conditions.
Pelvic health is an extremely part of a fit and healthy life. It’s not a topic to shy away from, or to be ignored. It is something that needs to be discussed and talked about!
If you have any other queries, please ask us in the comments below!
Also, I would love to know what YOU do to take care of your pelvic floor!