I keep hearing people talk about pelvic floor health. What does that mean? Does that mean I need to do more kegel exercises or does pelvic floor health mean something else?
Pelvic floor health is an important part of women’s health and has an impact on sexual health, sexual pleasure and function. It can impact bowel and urinary function as well. In order to address the question what is pelvic floor health, we spoke to our amazing Pelvic Physiotherapist Sami Cattach to find out more.
This article explains how the muscles in the pelvic floor work and some simple steps to look after your pelvic floor.
I realise that I've been going on and on about tight and shortened pelvic floor muscles, but what does that really mean? Let me enlighten you!
Muscles have a very specific length that allows them to function optimally according to a length-tension (strength) relationship.
This demonstrates that a muscle that is too short or too long has a decreased ability to contract compared to when it is within it's optimal range.
Ever tried to do a pullup? If you start with your elbow slightly bent - where the muscle is in its mid-range - it is much easier than starting from a fully extended elbow or fully bent elbow.
A muscle that is shortened, already contracting/holding tension is actually placed at a mechanical disadvantage and therefore cannot generate as much tension (think "strength") compared to when it is relaxed. In the case of the pelvic floor muscles, a position longer than the optimal length is more akin to a situation where the muscles have been overstretched or torn - rare without having experienced some direct trauma to the area - so you don't have to worry about relaxing too far.
This is where a lot of people with pelvic floor issues spend their time - constantly contracting because we've always been led to believe that more activation = more strength which is better. Not so! In my experience, the majority of people that I treat for pelvic floor issues have muscles that are on the short side of the equation, rather than just being weak, and this can manifest in many different ways:
In most cases, we need to learn how to relax and lengthen the pelvic floor muscles first, prior to any strengthening (if needed at all) in order to restore their optimal function. Contributing factors to shortened pelvic floor muscles
Standing and walking with your tailbone tucked under - again this is encouraging the tailbone and sacrum to move toward the pubic bone with similar effects as above. Shortened hamstring and calf muscles wearing will also keep you in this perpetually tucked pelvic position.
We are passionate about women's health
Pear is an industry leading women's health clinic offering exercise physiology, pelvic health physiotherapy, remedial massage and small group strength and reformer pilates classes located on Brisbane's Northside.
address: shop 6/52 Jeffcott Street, Wavell Heights, Queensland, 4012 (entry via Kinmond Ave carpark)
call: 0478 116 700
fax: 07 3036 6550
We are proud to support our local communities of Wavell Heights, Chermside, Clayfield, Ascot, Kedron, Nundah, Stafford, Gordon Park, Nudgee, Sandgate, Albion, Hendra, Wilston, Grange & Wooloowin.
We are a children & baby friendly studio, have easy onsite parking and private health rebates available on all services.
Monday 7am - 8pm
Tuesday 7am - 8pm
Wednesday 7am - 8pm
Thursday 7am - 8pm
Friday 7am - 2pm
Saturday 7am - 2pm