I’ve heard of it… but what and where is my pelvic floor?
As the name suggests, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles that are attached and line the bottom of the pelvis. These muscles have two very important roles. Firstly, they provide a base of support for the organs in your abdomen and pelvis. Secondly, they have a key role in controlling the passage of our bladder and bowel.
Although the pelvic floor is important for both men and women, there is often a big focus on the pelvic floor in pre and post-pregnancy, as these muscles can become stretched or damaged during childbirth. Considering the role of these muscles, weakness or damage can lead to incontinence during or after pregnancy.
Incontinence – there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!
Incontinence is when you’re unable to completely control the flow of urine, faeces (poo) or flatus (wind). For many people, incontinence can be an embarrassing topic to bring up to a health professional. However, considering 1 in 3 women experience postnatal incontinence in Australia (that’s incontinence after having kids), it’s not as uncommon as you might think.
Urinary incontinence comes in two varieties: stress and urge. Stress incontinence is leakage with activities that put pressure on your pelvic floor such as the pressure of the uterus on the bladder during pregnancy, laughing, sneezing, coughing, running, or jumping. Urge incontinence is caused by an overactive bladder which results in a sudden urge to go even though the bladder is empty. These two forms of incontinence can often occur at the same time.
Early postnatal incontinence is quite normal and should resolve as the muscles heal. However, it’s important to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist if incontinence persists for more than a few weeks. The good news is, like other muscles, the pelvic floor can be strengthened with the right exercises and incontinence can be treated with the help of a pelvic floor physio.
After you've seen the pelvic floor physio for a detailed assessment, and they set you on the right path with some home exercises, (with their approval) you can then join our clinical exercise classes. Being guided by your pelvic floor physio and the restrictions they place, we can design a program to progress your pelvic floor strength using different positions and resistance bands, weights, and machines. We will work alongside your expert pelvic floor physio to get you feeling normal again as fast as we can.
We are more than happy to discuss any questions you have regarding your pelvic floor in a free assessment with our physio Aki Nemoto. However, if you’d like to head straight to a pelvic floor physio we recommend our very own Brooke Williams at Back In Motion Melbourne on Collins.
Author: Aki Nemoto
Physiotherapist at Back In Motion Mentone