Pelvic Floor

Tips To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

As the weather warms up and people become more active outdoors, it’s crucial to consider your pelvic floor, a group of muscles that support and aid in the function of vital organs. These muscles are susceptible to overstretching or overtightening, especially for women, and cause pain that can keep you from enjoying this season. This week on Fox 17, Dr. Bitner shares the importance of maintaining your pelvic floor and how to protect it and minimize pain. 

Fact #1

The pelvic floor comprises thirteen muscles in five layers supporting the pelvis, including the bladder and rectum. These muscles stabilize the body, control bladder and bowel functions, and keep organs in place. They connect with the abdomen, back, and hip core muscles, aiding overall movement.

Fact #2

Pelvic floor muscles “loosen” from overstretching. Overstretching can occur during pregnancy and childbirth, from obesity complications, and straining from chronic constipation. This causes leakage and pressure on pelvic organs that can interfere with exercise and other activities.

Fact #3

Pelvic floor muscles tighten due to extra stress from overexercising or constant sitting without stretching. This leads to pelvic pain,  bladder or rectal urgency, tight hips, and spasms, preventing proper movement and daily comfortability.

Fact #4 

A loose pelvic floor can be strengthened through Kegel exercises.  It’s crucial to learn how to do them correctly. Pelvic floor physical therapists specialize in teaching proper techniques and can guide you through a personalized strengthening plan. Kegel exercise and physical therapy is most effective when started earlier rather than later. r,  If the Pelvic fascia or supportive tissue is significantly damaged, Kegels may not be enough. In this case, more advanced interventions or surgery might be required.

Fact #5

It is crucial to implement stretching to reduce pelvic tightening. Balancing exercise, sitting and stretching is the best and easiest way to prevent the tightening and pelvic pain. Finding ways to implement getting up and stretching during your work day or setting aside designated time to focus on stretching after a hard workout will minimize your pain and keep your pelvic floor functioning well.

Patient story:

Jane, 40, struggled with pressure and pain on her bladder,  making it hard for her to do anything without running to the bathroom frequently. She would wake up repeatedly at night to go to the bathroom but barely anything would come out. 

Jane finally told her doctor about the pain and frequent bathroom runs. Her doctor asked about her daily routine. Jane shared she had four kids and was constantly running them around or was sitting all day at her desk job leaving her no time to exercise. A physical exam confirmed her pelvic floor muscles were tight and tender. 

Her doctor referred her to a pelvic floor therapist and prescribed muscle relaxants to minimize her immediate pain.

After just a few weeks, Jane had minimized her pain and did not feel pressure to run to the bathroom anymore. She learned how to stretch her body and strengthen her pelvic floor. Jane felt like herself again and was able to do the things she loves without pain.

Takeaway tip: 

If you experience pelvic pain, bladder pressure and urgency, or leaking of any pelvic organ, don’t wait! Pain is not a normal part of life and treatments are available. Seek help and get back to doing what you love, pain-free! 

Watch the full segment here