Where is my Pelvic Floor?
The pelvis consists of two hip bones that join to the tail bone at the back and join at the front (symphysis) to form a ring. The pelvic floor is a sling of flat muscles extending from the pubic bone to the tail bone; these muscles have many important functions.
What does my Pelvic Floor do?
- The pelvic floor supports your bladder, uterus, vagina and bowels, preventing descent of these organs (prolapse).
- The pelvic floor also supports the baby during pregnancy.
- The pelvic floor wraps around the openings of the urethra (where urine passes) and the bowels and tightens and relaxations to control the passage or urine and stool (continence).
- The pelvic floor also increases the sensation around the vagina to increase arousal.
How might my Pelvic Floor be weakened?
- The pelvic floor has very important roles; several happenings and activities can weaken its function. These include pregnancy, vaginal delivery, not completing pelvic floor exercises, high impact exercise which involves jumping and running, repetitive coughing, repetitive lifting and constipation.
How do I protect my Pelvic Floor?
1 in 3 women will suffer from incontinence at some point in their life; looking after these muscles is vital.
Pelvic Floor Exercises (Do them for LIFE!)
- When you perform pelvic exercises, it should feel like you are trying to hold in your wee. Relax your thighs and buttocks, breathing normally, gently tighten your pelvic floor from front to back. You should feel the pelvic lift and a definite let go as they relax.
- You can complete pelvic floor exercises in any position! The easiest position to complete these exercises in is in lying with your knees bent up or on your hands and knees.
- You should aim to complete 5-10 contractions 3-5 times a day to keep the muscles strong
- Eating at least 30g of fibre daily; bran, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrain
- Consuming 1.5-2L of water daily
- Sitting on the toilet with your knees slightly higher than your hips (you may need a stool to rest your feet on), lean forwards and resting your elbows on your thighs, and gently bulging your tummy.
- Remember not to rush yourself when you are going to toilet.
- If you do have a weak pelvic floor, engage in low impact exercises like walking, cycling and Yoga, which will not place extra stress on your recovering pelvic floor.
- If you have a condition that makes you chronically cough, make sure you take any prescribed medications that can reduce coughing or talk to your GP about options.
- Make sure you bend at your knees when lifting and contract your pelvic as you lift. If an object is looks too heavy, ask someone to help you lift.