Your Pelvic Floor : Do you sneeze and pee?
After having two children, my sneezing and trampolining days were behind me. Literally. It wasn’t until my second child was three, that I decided to try and get help. Here is some background information that may help you.
What and where is your pelvic floor
The pelvic floor muscles are the foundation of the core of the body. They help stabilize the pelvis, and they support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity, like the bladder and uterus. The pelvic floor muscles, along with the deep muscles of the back and abdomen, form the group of muscles we work when we focus on developing core strength.
You can think of the pelvic floor muscles as a web of interrelated muscles, tendons and ligaments that form a supportive hammock at the base of the pelvic bowl. One of these muscles, the pubococcygeus, also known as the PC muscle, goes around the openings for the urethra, vagina, and anus.
Why is your pelvic floor so important?
Your pelvic floor supports your bladder, bowel, and uterus (womb), and gives you control over when you empty your bladder and bowel.
Having a weak pelvic floor makes it harder for you to squeeze the muscles and sphincters at the bottom of your bladder which prevents wee from escaping. You may accidentally leak a little wee when you cough, sneeze or exercise (stress incontinence). It also means that your bowel, bladder and womb aren’t as well supported, causing you to feel a heavy, dragging sensation.
Your pelvic floor also affects your vaginal muscles. You may find sex less satisfying and feel less sensitivity in your vagina.
You’ll need to keep your pelvic floor strong for the rest of your life, as hormonal changes after the menopause can make pelvic floor problems more prominent. If your vaginal muscles are weak, it’s possible for your uterus, bowel or bladder to sag down and push against the walls of your vagina (prolapse).
Doing just a few pelvic floor exercises every day will help to treat bladder weakness or prolapse symptoms and will help to prevent problems later on.
How does pregnancy affect your pelvic floor?
Being pregnant can place a lot of stress on your pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to weakness before your baby is born. Your pelvic floor can become weak and stretched from as early as 12 weeks into your pregnancy.
Constipation is also common in pregnancy and can put even more strain on your pelvic floor.
How will pelvic floor exercises help you?
Strong pelvic floor muscles may help to:
- Support the extra weight of pregnancy.
- Heal the area between your anus and vagina (perineum) after birth, by increasing the circulation of blood to it.
- Make for a more satisfying love life, by making orgasms during sex more likely.
If you are interested in learning more about supporting Pregnancy Structural Disorders, check-in with Ciaran Ahern our Physical Therapist or Bev Porrino our Neuro Connective Therapist