A quarter of all women – young, old, big and small – face problems with their pelvic floor muscles. That’s why I, Laura, dived into the world of the pelvic floor and the possible related problems, which are generally still quite taboo.
Let’s start at the beginning. Where, what are your pelvic floor muscles? Your pelvic floor muscles are at the bottom of your pelvis and hold your bladder, urethra, vagina and colon in place. These muscles are generally in use: to pee, you need to relax them.
Image: News Medical
Troubles in paradise
As you can imagine, if your pelvic floor muscles are not working like they should you run into problems. If your muscles weaken you can experience problems ranging from losing a little pee when you laugh or cough to complete incontinence, as well as sexual problems, the inability to keep you tampon in properly and pelvic floor prolapse.
It’s also possible your pelvic floor muscles are too tense. Problems that then may occur include an increase of urination, stool problems, sexual pain, and long lasting pelvic pain or pain in the lower abdomen, back or groin area.
The most common problem One fourth of all women suffer from uncontrolled urination, and 6% suffer from this daily. Many of these women feel frustrated, ashamed and insecure.
Pelvic floor problems most often occur after pregnancy or during menopause. The nerves that control the pelvic floor muscles are easily damaged during birth resulting. During menopause, the pelvic floor is also weakened due to the decrease of estrogen and aging in general.
Stress can also result in problems, over-straining the pelvic floor. Physically challenging work, psychological problems but also being overweight and lots of coughing may result in pelvic floor problems.
Menstruation and the pelvic floor muscles
When you’re on your period your estrogen levels decrease, weakening the pelvic floor. This explains why some women only experience pelvic floor problems during this time of the month.
Laura’s tips for you
To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, you can do various exercises and for more serious conditions there are different types of treatments including physiotherapy, medicine, a ring or surgery. What kind of treatment is best really depends on your complaints.
Try Laura’s at home tips to strengthen your own pelvic floor:
- Ten minutes a day keeps the doctor away – check out some easy at home exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor here.
- You know what they say: persistence pays off. The trick is to keep on doing the exercises.
- Cool tool: Carin Wear helps women with pelvic floor problems, with protective underwear, a portable sensor and a training app. This way, you are reminded to do your exercises and you and/or your physical therapist can check your progress.