Wellness 15 June 2021

Pelvic Floor: What is it and How Does it Affect a Woman’s Life?

  1. When do you have a pelvic floor problem? What are the consequences?
  2. Pelvic floor hypotonia
  3. Pelvic floor hypertone

Friend, you don’t know how many women don’t have a clue what it is, yet in the endless conversations that are generated on our social media, it’s now a regular topic.

The pelvic floor is a set of muscles between the pelvic bones or within the pelvic cavity (in correspondence with the bones that make up the pelvis).

Let’s talk about it!
Letme explain why the pelvic floor is important and why you should pay attention to it (I’ll list a few red flags you might recognize in yourself).

Let’s start with its function.

Imagine a cradle: the pelvic floor muscles develop from the pubic bone down to the coccyx (the last bone at the bottom of the spine) and thus support the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, vagina, anus, and rectum).

I speak of support because without the pelvic floor, we would be completely incontinent, and all the pelvic organs would relax so much that they would spill out of the cavity in which they are contained.


In short: It would be a TOTAL disaster!

The most important part of a woman’s well-being is the deepest part of the pelvic floor, which supports the bladder, uterus, and rectum.

Its muscles work so hard to ensure that:

  1. Urinary and fecal continence. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to hold our urine or feces.
  2. Pelvic static prevents the supported organs from prolapsing (i.e., the exit of the organs from their natural location).
    In other words, the bladder, the uterus, and the rectum must remain in their seat even after all the stresses that come from above and despite the force of gravity.
    For example, every time you cough, sneeze, sing, stand up, sit down, lift weights, lung dilation originates, the diaphragm lowers and pushes on the internal organs. Just to prevent damage to the pelvic organs, the pelvic muscles perform a small contraction and then a release;
  3. sexual pleasure.

 

When do you have a pelvic floor problem? What are the consequences?

Throughout a woman’s life, there may be events that contribute to altered pelvic floor function..

Direct or indirect trauma, surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or a continuous state of tension can potentially change the pelvic floor’s normal condition.

Depending on the cause, the pelvic floor muscles may become overly contracted(overtones) or overly relaxed(hypotones). Either condition is called pelvic floor dysfunction.

A physiotherapist or midwife specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation can diagnose pelvic floor dysfunction by following a careful assessment.

HALT!

I often hear myself saying, “no, but I felt nothing wrong” or “I don’t think that’s my case.”.

Friend, we can’t go by instinct: pelvic floor dysfunction is serious and REALLY needs specialist support.

 

Pelvic floor hypotonia

An overly relaxed pelvic floor generates two major phenomena: prolapse and incontinence.

From a gynecological point of view, the uterus, the bladder, and the rectum could “move” from their seats just because the pelvic floor muscles do not adequately support them.

Not to be outdone, decreased sensitivity may also alter our ability to orgasm during intercourse.

From a urinary tract perspective, pelvic floor hypotonia causes incontinence:

  1. By stress, when it appears because of abdominal pressure (after a sneeze, when running, jumping, etc.)
  2. When its accompanied by a very strong urge to pee.
  3. And in mixed form.

Incontinence and prolapse could, in the most unfortunate cases, also affect the rectal area.

What to do before hypotonia can ruin your life?

With the help of the specialist, you will work on strengthening the muscles through the so-called Kegel exercises, which involve a series of targeted muscle contractions.

Warning: never start alone!

Pelvic floor hypertone

When there is pelvic floor hypertonecaused by muscle overactivity, the following can happen:

  • Situations of pain during intercourse(dyspareunia), both at a more superficial level during penetration and deeper. The entrance to the vagina becomes narrower because of the hypertone.
  • Rectal problems, such as constipation, difficulty in evacuating stools, and anal pain;
  • Fatigue in the expulsion of urine because of difficulty in relaxing the muscles.
  • Episodes of post-coital cystitis, which occurs 24-72 hours after intercourse.

Pelvic floor hypertone does not come with constant soreness..

The pain may occur even years after the origin of the contracture, with the beginning of the regular sexual activity or with the arrival of menopause. The pain may affect the vaginal area, the rectal area, and the suprapubic area.

The following symptoms may serve as red flags:

  • Presence of tense, stiff, and painful muscle areas (so-called trigger points).
  • Impaired urination and defecation (sense of not emptying or need to push).
  • Reduced orgasm and arousal during intercourse.
  • Local discomfort when sitting.
  • Cystitis-like symptoms(fake cystitis).

Rehabilitation of a contracted pelvic floor occurs through:

  1. Various therapies are aimed at eliminating the deepest contractures.
  2. The education of the person to perceive the relaxation of the muscles.
  3. The performance of self-massage and posture exercises.

Is there anything you can do if you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic floor contracture?

Absolutely YES!

1) Sit properly
When you’re sitting, it’s good to avoid assuming an incorrect position, pressing on your tailbone or sitting on the tip of your chair, and crossing your legs.
Try to keep yourself upright, place your feet on the ground, and alternate moments of sitting with moments of movement (even a simple walk can make a difference)..

2) Choose your physical activity well
Avoid running, cycling, and physical activities that lead to muscle strengthening (i.e., those disciplines that require you to contract your muscles).

3) Help yourself with the right clothing
Eliminate clothing that tightens and wear loose-fitting clothing. At night, get rid of clothing as much as possible.

4) If you suffer from post-relationship cystitis
Use a good lubricating gel during intercourse to make penetration easier. Then, follow all the guidelines to hinder the appearance of cystitis after each intercourse.

I want to be boring, but useful.

To conclude this brief journey into the world of the pelvic floor, I want to list all the reasons why, if you have recognized yourself in any of the examples I have mentioned, it would be good to rely on a competent person to make an initial assessment of your pelvic floor..

 

With professional support, you will learn:

  • The true state of being of your pelvic floor: you will know exactly where it is, how your muscles are, you will learn to know them, to “feel” them.
  • Which movements should be avoided at all costs and which ones can be good for you.
  • To educate yourself with a specific path built around your needs.
  • To give your rehabilitation the proper timing.

 

I think I’ve said it all, but if you have any more questions, the Dimann girls and I are available to answer them!

 

A hug!

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