When a client starts with me I ask them about their pelvic floor function. I often get a blank stare for a few seconds because, 1. They don't know what I am talking about, or 2. They don't wish to discuss it with someone they just met.
For those in camp number 1, allow me to introduce you to your pelvic floor. Everyone has one. Your pelvic floor is the hammock-like group of muscles and connective tissue that span the base of the pelvis.
If your pelvic floor is not functioning properly you may accidently pass urine during certain movements, coughing, or sneezing. You may be experiencing pelvic pain. Men may experience erectile dysfunction. You may even experience the scariest of them all: prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is when the the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself may begin to fall out of their normal positions.
You know that I am not a doctor, so I cannot diagnose or treat any of this. I can ask you how it is functioning to the best of your knowledge so I can be sure we are not doing things that make it worse, or in the case of prolapse I can recommend you see a doctor. Also, I share the waiting room with a fantastic Physical Therapist that specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction! Surgery isn't always the answer!
Here is some of what I do know.
1. Kegals done incorrectly do more harm than good. Women, you have probably been told to do a lot of Kegals to prevent or correct PFD (pelvic floor dysfuction), but doing them incorrectly is at best a waste of energy and at worst making it worse. A physical therapist can help you with this one.
2. Kegals alone do not really make it better. You must work the surrounding muscles to help out. Specifically working the Glutes can make a huge difference. I can help you with this!
3. Often trying to make the pelvic floor stronger isn't the answer because you may have too much tension in the pelvic floor. Remember, this hammock is always carrying your organs, like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sometimes it needs to learn to chill out and relax. ( I wish I had a little picture of a pelvis sitting in a hammock on the beach with a pina colada to put here)
4. Wearing positive heeled shoes weakens the pelvic floor.
5. Most traditional ab exercises put a lot of downward pressure on the pelvic floor really endangering the integrity of the structure.
6. In cultures in which it is common to squat throughout the day pelvic floor dysfuction is not a thing.
Let those sink in a bit. I'm going to follow up on this when you've had time to think about these things. If you can get out of the positive heeled shoes this week I will elaborate on releasing tension in the pelvic floor and how to prepare to squat in a functional manner in the coming weeks.
Have a healthy week!