When I first heard the words “pelvic floor dysfunction”, I foolishly thought that’s just a problem that happens to older women. Imagine to my surprise then when my OB recommended I check out getting pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation after my first pregnancy. This topic seems to be rarely discussed but can have a HUGE impact on your overall fitness abilities (and quality of life) after your baby is here. If you’re trying to get back into shape, this is worth a read through.
What is your pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is basically what it sounds like…the floor or bottom of your pelvis. This is a muscular region and the muscles weave and interconnect to hold inside all of your organs while also allowing you to control such bodily functions as urination or defecation. During pregnancy and labor/delivery, the pelvic floor muscles can be damaged as the body undergoes a variety of changes.
What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
Just like other muscles in your body, the muscles of the pelvic floor can be damaged through different events or trauma. Childbirth being a common culprit. Some of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can be: urinary or fecal incontinence, organ prolapse (organs trying to come outside), pain, sexual dysfunction. All pretty unpleasant. If you suspect you might have pelvic floor dysfunction, I’d highly recommend seeking out your doctor to discuss options. For me, I mentioned that I was having a lot of pain and discomfort while running (kind of a funny pressure “down there”). Going through the rehab was the best thing I think I could have done to improve my overall health.
How do you know if you should work on strengthening your pelvic floor?
I’ve heard some doctors mention that they think pelvic floor rehab should be a standard treatment that women go through after pregnancy. That seems a bit extreme to me, but if you think you have any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction or you are experiencing things that just don’t feel right have it checked out. I waited longer than I should have thinking that it would just take my body awhile to get back to normal.
What are some pelvic floor exercises that work?
In my next post, I’ll go through some pelvic floor exercises (yup, Kegels are in the list) that I’ve tried and have had success with since the birth of baby number two.