What is the pelvic floor?
The muscles spanning the pelvic bones are the bridge supporting all our pelvic organs. The bladder, uterus (in women) and the bowel all rest on these supporting muscles. If these muscles sag then all these organs descend and their function is compromised.
If the bladder sags, then urgency and incontinence may result. If the uterus or vagina fall then a dragging sensation, back pain or a lump develops in the front passage. If the bowel sags then stools may be difficult to push out, a lump may be palpable when the bowel is full and often there is a sensation of “incomplete evacuation” despite many trips to the toilet. If the straining continues then the sphincter muscles may weaken as well and bowel incontinence may occur.
How did it happen?
Chronic constipation and childbirth strain commonly strain the pelvic floor. Obesity and chronic cough also put extra pressure on these muscles. Operations, such as radical prostatectomy in men or pelvic clearance in women, may damage the nerves that operate these muscles.
Taking the first steps
- Identify the problem and decide to tackle it
(this is not a “normal” part of aging)
- Consult your doctor and pelvic floor specialist
- Start your own pelvic floor program today
The pelvic floor program
- Optimise your weight
(the pelvic floor is where the load is taken)
- Improve your “core strength”
(these muscles all interact)
– Posture when sitting
– Swiss Ball
– Ask your gym instructor for specific exercises, particularly the deep Transverse Abdominis muscle.
- Exercise your pelvic floor muscles specifically
– Pull up and tighten around the front and back passage daily
– See your physiotherapist for information
– Pick up a brochure
- Improve your stool consistency
Aim for a bulky, softly formed stool
– 5 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of fruit and 2 litres of fluids daily
– If this is not working for you, check your medications and discuss with your doctor
- Sit on the toilet with the knees higher than the hips, don’t strain
- Sometimes the Neotonus Chair will “kick start” the pelvic floor exercise program
A magnetic pulse is applied to the resting pelvic floor and this creates an electrical field which stimulates the pelvic floor nerves to contract these muscles, strengthening them. Two twenty minute sessions per week are recommended for eight weeks. These sessions can be booked directly with reception ($15.00 per session).