3 questions to ask when your pelvic floor symptoms change
There is a lot of mis-information out there on the internet when it comes to finding out what's caused a sudden change in the pelvic floor.
Today, I'm here to put the onus back on you somewhat, as a way of YOU discovering if there's a connection between something you've done differently, and your pelvic floor symptoms.
Put it this way: the pelvic floor in most cases doesn't just suddenly stop working or become dysfunctional.
There's a history of events to trace back which should hopefully help you put the pieces of the puzzle together.
1 - HAVE YOU DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY?
Moving differently and/or NOT moving differently can cause all sorts of shifts and changes in your alignment.
Back pain for example, often comes on after you've been sat down, been sedentary, or been on bed rest, so you can see that this "something different" falls into the category of "not moving enough".
The pelvic floor isn't working when you're sat down, but it is working when you're standing up, so yay for me and the standing workstation I'm currently typing at.
Perhaps the sudden change in your pelvic floor symptoms is as a result of "something differently" in the sense that the way you're doing it hasn't always been optimal for your pelvic floor.
Have you done a tonne of lifting, moving, reaching, DIY - anything out of the ordinary, with an increased level of frequency?
Ok, so yeah - maybe we're getting somewhere.
There's not always a catalyst or a definitive point that can be traced back to explain a sudden onset of pelvic floor weakness, and if you're assuming that "being pregnant" is on that list - it isn't, necessarily.
Pregnancy alone WON'T weaken your pelvic floor, but I'm hoping you're catching my drift that if you start to move a lot less than you did prior to pregnancy, and/or you start to move in different ways than is optimal for your pregnant body, that could attribute to changes in pelvic floor function.
2 - IS THE EXERCISE YOU'RE DOING APPROPRIATE FOR YOU RIGHT NOW?
If you're following an exercise regime online, at the gym, or you've been to a local workout class that has a lot of new movements that your body isn't used to...
...it could be that yes, unfortunately, something you did in that session caused things to move around, pressure to be dispersed elsewhere and/or more load to be placed down on your pelvic floor.
When I work with clients one-on-one, my end goal is to get them to a point where they can return back to whatever exercise they used to do, be it running, Yoga, horse riding, team sports, competitions.
I rarely, if ever "blacklist" an exercise to do - that's not my style.
What I do however is find alternative ways of doing the movement for the short-term, so my client feels empowered, and safe in the knowledge that will be able to do it again, but for now, she needs to understand the work involved in getting her back to that activity.
It's all about strategies is what I'm saying.
3 - ARE OTHER SYMPTOMS PRESENT TOO?
If you're currently suffering with:
tension, stress or fear: the first thing we do when in fear or stresed is tense our butt. This causes unnecesary tension in the pelvic floor area. When you're tense (consciously or unconscouusly so) you tighten your jaw, you hold your breath, you tighten your muscles and bear down on your pelvic floor.
incontinence (sneeze wee, wetting yourself when you jump/on impact, or you're unable to control your bowel or bladder when you're desperate for the toilet), or
pelvic organ prolapse
...I'd like you to think about whether there were some other unexplained, seemingly unrelated issues present BEFORE your pelvic floor symptoms appeared.
I'm talking about things like:
back, pelvic, foot and/or knee pain,
digestive disorders like IBS, collick, trapped wind, constipation, urinary tract infections
encountered a very stressful situation/life event
And, it's worth considering if you had:
• a sickness bug that made you vomit more frequently, and/or
• a sudden bout of diarrhoea
Although not an exhaustive list of considerations and questions to ask yourself if/when your pelvic floor symptoms change, there are definitely links between:
1. being very inactive
2. doing too much of the wrong types of activity
3. pain and the way you move (or stop moving) as a result of that pain
4. your digestive system and your pelvic floor
5. your mindset
The good news is: there's always hope and there's always exercises you can do that won't put undue stress on your pelvic floor.
This is actually one of my super powers: creating a workout (including breathwork and relaxation techniques) that's safe and effective for your pelvic floor.
And, I'm hoping you appreciate the time and experience behind me to be able to offer you an effective exercise class that's safe and effective for you.