As women, we have all been told to do our kegel exercises, that Kegels help our bodies bounce back after childbirth and prevent incontinence. Yet, countless women suffer the symptoms of a weak pelvic floor, despite doing 100’s of Kegels every day. Today, there is scientific evidence that Kegel’s don’t correct a hypertonic (overly tight) pelvic floor. Let’s move past this antiquated ideology of what we are supposed to do to heal our bodies, and let us begin to honor them so that we can age with grace and dignity.
If you have to cross your legs when you laugh, cough or sneeze, or you find yourself peeing while doing an intense HIIT workout, you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. No amount of Kegels will fix these issues. Ladies, it’s time to properly educate ourselves as we embrace our bodies and all it does. This is not an embarrassing conversation, to the contrary. This empowering conversation puts us at the helm of the ship of intimacy in our lives. There is no shame in learning how to strengthen and heal our bodies. We deserve to have pain-free sex, easy orgasms, and the freedom of not having to wear Depends® on the dance floor or the golf course!
What is the pelvic floor?? The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the pelvis that stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They are transversely connected to our deep abdominal muscles and work simultaneously with our diaphragm to stabilize and support the spine. It also controls that ‘bearing down’ motion that we rely on when we lift, strain, or give birth. Our pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, vagina, bladder, and rectum in women and the prostate, bladder, and rectum in men.
Although the leading cause of pelvic floor dysfunction is associated with childbirth and age, it is not the only cause. Other causes include:
- Endometriosis: a painful disorder where uterine tissue grows outside your uterus.
- PID: inflammation due to infection from bacteria spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. PID can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and severe pelvic pain.
- STD’s: sexually transmitted diseases
- IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Chrons Disease: chronic, sometimes severe inflammation or infection of the large or small intestines.
- Pudendal Neuralgia, Migraines, Shingles, MS: disorders that result from nerve pain.
- Fibromyalgia, Connective Tissue Disorder: chronic inflammation disorders that result in constant musculoskeletal and joint pain.
The assumption that tighter is better is counterintuitive when it comes to our pelvic floor. In fact, most women who suffer from pelvic-related lower back pain or experience incontinence have muscles that are too tight or hypertonic. To alleviate the symptoms of a hypertonic pelvic floor, women need to relearn or reteach those muscles how to move with their breath, release, and relax.
A functional pelvic floor is an integral part of being a woman and living a healthy, active life. When the pelvic floor muscles respond appropriately, we experience more sexual pleasure, better and easier orgasms, less low back pain, and less or no urinary incontinence. There are various methods to help relax the pelvic floor muscles. The main one is learning how to do diaphragmatic breathing and using the mind-body connection with every breathe. With routine practice, the muscles will learn when to relax and when to contract, easing the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
At Longevity Care Clinic, we focus on functional medicine with a holistic approach to your health and wellness. We offer services such as Auricular Acupressure and Dry Needling Acupuncture, that can help to alleviate the symptoms of a hypertonic pelvic floor. Our specialized team of doctors, nutritionists, and massage therapists work together, to treat the cause of your symptoms so you can experience overall health in every part of your life. Schedule your comprehensive health consultation today!