How do pelvic floor problems occur?

Pelvic floor problems can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, weakened or too tight. Some people have weak pelvic floor muscles from an early age, whilst others notice problems after certain life stages such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause. Some people have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and cannot relax. This can be made worse by doing squeezing exercises and overworking the muscles without learning how to relax. Pelvic floor muscle fitness is affected by a number of things. These include: not keeping them active or over working them being pregnant and having babies, a history of back pain, ongoing constipation and straining to empty the bowels, being overweight, obese or having a body mass index (BMI) over 25, heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym), a chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, smoking or hay fever, previous injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy), and growing older.

learn to relax your pelvic floor in Pilates class

Signs of a Pelvic Floor Problem

Common signs that can indicate a pelvic floor problem include:

  • Accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze 
  • Needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time constantly 
  • Needing to go to the  toilet finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel accidentally 
  • Losing control of your bladder or bowel accidentally passing wind
  • A prolapse in women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go pain in your pelvic area, 

Although it is hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal (tummy) muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to actively support your bladder and bowel. This improves bladder and bowel control and reduce the likelihood of accidentally leaking from your bladder or bowel. Like other muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles will become stronger with a regular exercise program.

Work on core helps develop strong pelvic floor, engage pelvic floor

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic Floor Exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are essential to every woman’s exercise routine and they can be done anytime, anywhere, and without anyone noticing. Not only do they increase your control over your bladder, your pelvic floor supports your vagina, uterus and bowel, so keeping your pelvic floor in good working order is beneficial for women of all ages and stages of life. A strong pelvic floor may also help shorten the second stage of labour and, after childbirth. Pelvic Floor Exercises may also help to heal any damage by increasing blood supply to the area. Pilates are a great way to strengthen your Pelvic Floor Exercises as these muscles need slow exercises as well as fast exercise.

Dr Anjali deals with Diastasis recti and incontinence issues with many women , she runs dance-lates program for the postnatal mums includes core, pelvic floor rehab and core activation for helping postnatal mums return back to active lifestyle without damaging the pelvic floor.