6 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Pelvic Floor!

The pelvic floor plays an important role in maintaining continence and much more. Keep reading to find out other facts you might not have known…

6 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Pelvic Floor!

The pelvic floor plays an important role in maintaining continence and much more. Keep reading to find out other facts you might not have known…

6 facts you didn't know about your pelvic floor

The pelvic floor is what supports the bladder, bowel, the uterus for women and the prostate for men. So as you can imagine, it plays a crucial role in some major bodily functions - such as going to the toilet, giving birth and maintaining sexual function.

When our pelvic floor is strong, it helps prevent things such as urinary and faecal incontinence and prolapse and improves recovery after birth for women, and recovery after prostate surgery for men.

If the pelvic floor is tight or weak it can cause conditions such as pelvic floor dysfunction, which is the inability to effectively control or relax your pelvic floor muscles.

There really is so much the pelvic floor does for our bodies, and in this article, we wanted to share six facts you didn’t know about your pelvic floor, so you can be educated in how to best look after yours!

6 facts you didn't know about your pelvic floor

1. The pelvic floor is a hammock

Ok we know this sounds a bit strange, but hear us out!

The way your pelvic floor is positioned mimics a hammock so that it can bear the weight of your bladder, bowel and uterus or prostate. The muscles stretch front to back from the pubic bone to the tailbone, and then side to side.

It’s these muscles that can be strong, weak, long, short, loose or tight and they will contract and relax depending on your movements.

6 facts you didn't know about your pelvic floor

2. Everyone has a pelvic floor - not just women

Most of the time, the conversation around pelvic floor strength and maintenance is catered towards women. And while yes, pelvic floor strength is especially important for women especially if they are planning on giving birth or have given birth, it’s just as important for men to maintain their pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor for males supports his bladder and bowel. His urethra and anus also pass through the pelvic floor.

For men, some signs the pelvic floor muscles could be weak or compromised include:

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Urinary or faecal incontinence

  • Sudden urge to urinate or have a bowel movement

  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder and/or bowel

For women, some signs the pelvic floor muscles could be weak or compromised include:

  • Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running
  • Urinary or faecal incontinence

  • Reduced vaginal sensation

  • Passing wins from the anus or vagina when lifting or bending

  • A feeling of heaviness in the vagina

  • Recurrent UTIs or thrush (more on this later!)

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, speak to your GP for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

6 facts you didn't know about your pelvic floor

3. A tight or weak pelvic floor can affect continence

You might have gathered this from reading the past two points, but your pelvic floor plays a huge role in maintaining your continence.

If they’re functioning normally, the pelvic floor muscles should allow you to release uring, faeces and wind when convenient. The pelvic floor will remain contracted and lift the organs in the pelvis to tighten the openings of the vagina, anus and urethra. Then when a person relaxes their pelvic floor on the toilet, it loosens those openings allowing urine and faeces to pass.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, tight and/or damaged, these bladder and bowel processes can be compromised and lead to urinary and/or faecal leaks, and excess wind.

For example, tight pelvic floor muscles can cause tension in the pelvic floor, which then puts pressure on the bladder. This added pressure can cause urge incontinence, one of the types of urinary incontinence characterised by the sudden and strong need to pass urine. This kind of incontinence causes urinary leaks as the person may not always sometimes make it to the toilet in time.

If you’re experiencing incontinence, you don’t need to be embarrassed. We’re here to help, with our range of products offering you discreet, effective and reliable management of incontinence.

If you’re experiencing urinary leaks, our pads and guards will be extremely helpful for you. For anything heavier, you can look at our pull-up pants and all-in-one slips.

Remember, if you’re new to experiencing incontinence or you’re look for an alternative to the current items you’re using, give our team of expert product specialists a call on 1800 86 11 99 or email them at hello@confidenceclub.com.au.

You can find all the ways to reach out to us on our contacts page.

6 facts you didn't know about your pelvic floor

4. Pelvic floor muscles can enhance your sex life

For women, being able to contract and relax the pelvic floor properly helps to make sex pain-free and increase vaginal lubrication.

Weak or overly tight pelvic floor muscles can lead to reduced vaginal sensation, vulval pain and sexual desire and/or arousal. Research has also shown a link between pelvic floor disorders and infrequent orgasms [1].

Men who have tight pelvic floor muscles could be susceptible to erectile dysfunction due to the compression of the artery that provides blood to the penis. That compression is caused by the pressure of the pelvic floor.

It’s important to see a pelvic physiotherapist to help you with a tailored kegel exercise program and any other resources that may be helpful to your individual needs.

If you want to try some safe and simple exercises at home first, you can try our pelvic floor exercises for beginners.

5. The pelvic floor reacts to stress

Some people may not realise that physical and mental stress can actually cause pelvic pain because the pelvic floor muscles contract in response to stress.

When we constantly contract or tighten, our pelvic floor muscles - usually involuntarily - because of stress, it can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction, which can cause voiding dysfunction (the feeling of not emptying the bladder and/or bowel), sexual dysfunction and pain, and anorectal issues such as haemorrhoids, fissures, and faecal incontinence.

As mentioned above, doing the right pelvic floor exercises to release the pelvic floor are important - but so too are finding healthy stress management techniques that work for you! Think yoga, listening to a podcast, taking a walk with a friend, or whatever makes you feel calm. Breathing exercises can also be extremely helpful in managing stress.

6. Pelvic pain can mimic a UTI

Sounds a little crazy, right? But it’s true!

A urinary tract infection develops when bacteria enters the urethra and bladder. This bacteria irrirates the lining of both the urethra and bladder and causes inflammation that leads to pain or burning when you wee, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, increased urgency and frequency of urination and other irritating symptoms.

So you might be wondering how pelvic pain can mimic something like this. Well, if your pelvic floor is tight and overactive (known as pelvic floor dysfunction which we mentioned earlier!) it not only causes pain in the pelvis, it can disrupt normal bladder function and can cause what’s known as a ‘phantom UTI’.

Of course, if you experience any UTI-type symptoms, always speak to your GP first and foremost and have them run tests. If they rule out a UTI, you can consider seeing a pelvic physio to see whether you may have pelvic floor dysfunction that could be leading to phantom UTIs.

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