06 Nov 5 Factors that Damage the Pelvic Floor
Original Content by Olatz Zeberio, Transposed by Shannon Trudeaux
The muscles of the pelvic floor undergo changes throughout the course of a woman’s life such as pregnancy and menopause. And in some cases the pelvic floor is weakened through these experienced changes. In others it simply requires more attention. However there are 5 main factors that damage the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is damaged when it receives excessive pressure, stress or injuries in any of the structures of the pelvic area.
Taking care of the pelvic area is important for preventing problems like Urinary Incontinence (urine leakage) and improving your intimate health. For this reason it is important to know the five main factors that can harm your pelvic floor:
1. Excessive impact
- Episodes of intense sneezing or coughing.
- Regularly taking part in high impact sports like running.
- Chronic constipation that strains the abdominal area to push downward.
All of these factors result in the pelvic floor taking on excess stress which can cause damage.
2. Excess weight on the organs found within the pelvic area sphere
The pelvic floor takes on a lot of the weight from both pregnancy (with the uterus growing in both size and weight) and intestinal constipation. If not exercised the pelvic floor can weaken and let the weight of the organs bulge into the vagina and bladder (pelvic organ prolapse).
3. Injury/Damage to the muscles and/or tissues.
- Perineal tear during childbirth
- A surgical cut such as an episiotomy, or a cesarean (C-section).
In this case the muscles and tissues suffer an injury that can bring consequences later, such as urine leakage and pelvic organ prolapse.
4. Over stretching a nerve or ligament
When the nerves and internal tissues suffer an injury, this affects other structures of the pelvic area sphere including the pelvic floor. Through situations such as:
- Neurological injuries.
5. Bad posture
Body posture greatly affects the health of the pelvic area. For example, the tendency to hunch your back makes the chest sink and the ribs sink causing the pelvic area sphere to take on the excess pressure causing it to strain and weaken. Continuous bad posture will then start to damage the pelvic floor.
What Effects do Excess Pressure and Tension in the Pelvic Area Trigger?
Excess pressure and tension in the pelvic area can cause the bladder and uterus to slip out of place, creating a feeling of pressure that could lead to a loosening of the organs called prolapse.
The descent of the bladder can also cause urinary incontinence. It is possible to prevent damage to the pelvic floor and these health problems by using pelvic area exercises to strengthen the abdominals and pelvic floor.
Feel the Changes in your Pelvic Area
Exercise 1 of 3: Sit down and place your hands at the edge of your rib cage. Now bend forward and feel how the ribs sink in to the abdominal cavity. Now sit up and notice how the entire pelvic area space opens up.
Exercise 2 of 3: Stand up and put your hand on your vulva. Now jump as high as you can and notice the pressure received by the pelvic floor muscles upon landing.
Exercise 3 of 3: Download our app through iOS or Android devices and take the pelvic floor test. You’ll receive your personal assessment and be able to access Kegel exercises and many other techniques for strengthening your pelvic floor.
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Olatz mentors women in the different stages of their pelvic area health- phases of youth, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, motherhood and menopause.