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Adore your Pelvic Floor

Adore your Pelvic Floor

Many of those who know me well, know I’m passionate about the female pelvic floor. A set of muscles that sits inside the pelvis; its purpose is so important in daily life, so I’m always sure to look after my own and educate others to do likewise. Many women have a vague recollection that it has something to do with continence and that’s about it. Today, after reading this, I’m hoping you can appreciate your pelvic floor just a bit more. So why is it so vital….

1. Continence

The pelvic floor provides conscious control over the release of urine, faeces and wind. Relaxing it allows for release, whereas contraction tightens the sphincters and contains the contents. When the muscles are overstretched the ability to control the sphincters is reduced resulting in incontinence of urine, faeces or both.

2. Sexual Function

In women, the pelvic floor is involved in normal sexual function. Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles contributes to sexual arousal and sensation. However, pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) can contribute to painful sexual activity. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause pelvic organ prolapse (POP), pelvic pain and lower urinary tract infections which in turn can also negatively impact your enjoyment of sexual activity.

3. Spinal support

Your pelvic floor forms part of your ‘core’ and works with your deep abdominal and back muscles to stabilise the spine. A stable spine is needed to safely carry out all the physical activities during your day such as getting out of bed, showering and making a meal and is certainly put to work when lifting up children or carrying a load of washing!

4. Organ support

Your pelvic floor provides support for the bladder, intestines and uterus, keeping them tucked safely inside your pelvis.

5. Facilitates Birth

Your pelvic floor takes the weight of the growing baby throughout pregnancy and when it’s time for birth, it helps navigate the baby towards the pelvic girdle. The period of pregnancy and birth is a time when your pelvic floor is under the greatest stress. It is during this time, and following birth, where we commonly see health issues develop such as incontinence, back pain and painful sex.

There are a number of ways you can look after and improve the function of your pelvic floor during pregnancy, postpartum and throughout life. Stay tuned for future blogs where I will provide some practical strategies to care for your pelvic floor during everyday tasks. Remember: There’s more to pelvic floor care than just ‘Kegels’. In the meantime, if you would like more information about continence and the pelvic floor, visit https://www.continence.org.au/

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Friday, 12 April 2024