13 Nov Start the Conversation: Increasing Awareness of the Importance of the Pelvic Floor
By Shannon Trudeaux
We as an organization want to start the conversation. To open a topic that can at times be seen as controversial and sometimes even taboo. This topic is something that people will giggle about if you mention because it is a topic so personal… hardly anyone will risk saying it out loud. This topic is (Dun Dun DUUUUUNN!) The Pelvic Floor (insert dramatic gasp here).
We want to increase the awareness women have of the impact the pelvic floor has on their lives.
Let’s Start the Conversation, one Woman at a Time
Having recently started working for Bwom, an organization that is promoting a movement to increase women’s awareness of their pelvic floor, I have found the reactions of people, when I mention with what topic I work, varies from shocked silence to rolling on the floor laughing (ahem, thank you family). They then get this incredulous look on their faces and respond with, “No. But seriously?” as if anybody that doesn’t happen to be a doctor would just be joking.
The irony of this is the fact that before I knew what I do now about the pelvic floor, I would have acted the same way. However, after quite a bit of time researching, I became fascinated about the topic. I began to wonder why it had never been expressed to me the importance of the pelvic floor.
Some of you may be as confused as to ask, “What is the pelvic floor?” I’m here to tell you that the pelvic floor is a set of muscles so important, that it will impact your quality of life as a teen until your last breath.
In every stage of life, this set of muscles (that hardly anyone seems to stress the importance of), can be the cause of great pleasure or great discomfort and even pain.
If you really have no idea what I’m talking about, you can reference one of our previous blogs that goes into more detail about the pelvic floor here.
Education on the Pelvic Floor
You know how education is supposed to prepare you for growing up? This generally includes being forced to take a week of sex education classes in the 7th grade where you are taught what the adults had termed as ‘the birds and the bees’. But even with those classes giving descriptions of how the reproductive system works, the videos still failed to prepare you for the ramifications of what exactly it is like for your body to go through life’s different body stages.
For women, we are talking about puberty, pregnancy, post-childbirth, motherhood, and menopause.
Throughout this time, we as women get older, our hair grayer, our bodies thicker, our muscle mass naturally decreases, and we eventually stop bleeding during our (generally) once a month cycle. Unfortunately for us, even with these changes our pelvic floor also weakens. This can be the result of events like impact sports, pregnancy, surgery, over conditioning core muscles without including the pelvic floor, etc.
More detailed factors that damage the pelvic floor can be seen in last weeks blog post about 5 Factors that Damage the Pelvic Floor.
“Why do I need to know About my Pelvic Floor Health?” You may Ask.
The pelvic floor is imperative to your health. Yet there are not a lot of tools out there that can tell you your pelvic floor’s health, and what you can to prevent or fix any related problems. Unfortunately, more often than not, the importance of the pelvic floor is generally stressed only after a problem has already developed. And most often, these problems (that are actually pretty common) are related with different forms of Incontinence (urinary, fecal, or gas leakage) right after pregnancy or later in life.
Did you know that 60% of women are suffering or will suffer from pelvic floor related problems at some point in their lives? That is over half of the women’s population in the world.
As of 2014 there were around 3.52 billion women in the world. That means that around 2.11 BILLION of them have or will have a pelvic floor problem sometime in their life.
To help put this into perspective this is 6 out of every 10 women.
Out of this 60%, only 10% of them go to the doctor about it. So that means that 90% of these women have not or will never speak to their doctors about their pelvic floor problems.
50% of all women, 5 out of every 10 women in their lifetime, either have no idea or are too embarrassed to go to the doctor about their pelvic floor health.
This tells you that half of the women’s population:
- never get diagnosed,
- never get treated,
- are stuck with a problem that can most often be fixed and or reversed without the use of surgery,
- and think of their problem as just another normal hindrance of postpartum or getting older.
50% of women are and continue to be stuck in a purgatory of discomfort and/or embarrassment for pretty much the rest of their lives. While they often look to Google for help, they do not necessarily receive the correct solutions. Women are without a tool of advice that is both free and professional that can tell them what they need to do to alleviate, fix, or prevent such commonplace problems.
And because people don’t know the best ways to fix their pelvic floor, many of these cases can continue to increase in severity which will eventually require costly surgery to be fixed such as with Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
Prevention should be a key solution, but in order to do that, we need something that is easy to find and provides women information, especially with as uncomfortable a subject as the pelvic floor can be.
So why Exactly does Talking About the Pelvic Floor make People Uncomfortable?
- It is a very personal part of ourselves, since it is linked up and surrounds what some like to refer as our *cough* ‘Naughty bits’…
- We have been taught that these problems are embarrassing rather than treatable. (I mean nobody likes to admit that they accidentally pee themselves. It’s an unpleasant reminder of the embarrassment you had as a child when you accidentally peed the bed or had the unfortunate experience to have an accident at school) And many can honestly think it a normal problem resulting from childbirth or aging. However, this is WRONG and is generally easily treatable if not completely reversible.
- The pelvic floor can and is related to better (or in the case a a weak pelvic floor, worse) sexual performance. While the pelvic floor is linked together with Kegel exercises, these exercises vary to achieve different results. And while often yes it does help better sexual performance, no they do not always help you target the correct problems like habit correction, Incontinence, and Minor Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Different exercises will work and strengthen different areas of the pelvic floor. If you need help learning to relax the pelvic floor, certain exercises will only act to tighten it further.
The main point of starting the conversation about the pelvic floor, is so that we can help women open up and start to learn more about their bodies. Because avoiding the topic just because it is ’embarrassing’ will not help you or your body in the long run.
The Fast-Food Culture of Health and Fitness
Now quite a few of you out there already know quite a bit about the pelvic floor and you may even do Kegel exercises on your own. Congratulations you did your research! 🙂
But here are a few questions for you.
Do you know why and to what cause you are doing these exercises?
Will the exercises make an impact on your body?
Are the exercises personalized to fit your body and your needs?
Do you even know out of the hundreds of Kegel exercises available on the internet, which ones are best for your body?
When it comes to dieting and exercise fads, sometimes they work for you, but a lot of the time… they don’t. Most of the time this is because these fads are not oriented towards your body’s specific needs. The same goes in terms of your pelvic floor.
Everybody’s pelvic floor is different and everybody is at a different stage of their life. But most people continue to use the same exercises (Kegel or otherwise) that have been made by one person that works for one person and maybe even works for a large group of people. But nevertheless the results can oftentimes be disappointing.
You know the saying that repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is considered insanity? Well using the same method to solve everybody’s varying problems isn’t much better.
Knowledge is Power
So now you know some of the key problems that women continue to try and handle on their own in a world that has them surrounded by knowledge. With iPhones and Androids in almost every hand, information is literally at your fingertips. So why not have a way to diagnose yourself along side personalized exercises?
Thus, by writing this blog I hope to have enlightened those that were still in the dark and to increase women’s understandings of their bodies. Because as an organization this is what my CEO Veronica made the app Bwom for. We want women to have access to this information, because knowledge is power.
We want to empower women by creating a community developed around helping them to take control of the self-management of their own bodies. With this knowledge we have to move beyond the embarrassment because this topic is too important to omit.
Solutions for your Pelvic Floor
Because we want to promote women’s knowledge about their bodies, the Bwom app offers you a free test so that we can diagnose the stage of your pelvic floor. You are then given advice on what you can do to improve it. (This varies from prevention and habit correction to treatment and damage control/reversal.)
After the test we then provide free the first few customized and professionally made exercises and instructions to help get your started on your journey to increase your quality of life.
Education, Discussion, Validated Information, Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment. That is what Bwom has to offer you.
If you are interested in further empowering yourself download the app on either iOS or Android.
After trying out the exercises on Bwom, if the app is a fit for you, you can then choose to buy among the affordable and professional plans designed to further facilitate the training of your pelvic floor. 🙂
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If you have any comments you would like to add please feel free to start the conversation below. 😉