Most women still know little about their pelvic floor and what it can do to keep it healthy and prevent urinary, gynecological and sexual dysfunction.
Let’s talk about women’s health. We can talk about many things, but I want to start by talking about the health of the pelvic floor, a topic that is very ours.
Surely this will sound familiar to you from the pelvic floor, it is possible that you relate it to urinary incontinence, but it is a much broader world. Let’s start by locating ourselves.
WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR?
The pelvic floor is the set of muscles and tissues that line the pelvis on the inside, the world between the legs, popularly speaking. The pelvic floor is directly related to the containment and proper functioning of the urinary world, the gynecological world, the defecation world and the sexual world.
Many worlds involved, to be so little known. In fact, the pelvic floor suffers from chronic ignorance.
We know that many women have incontinence problems, we know that with menopause it is “normal” for everything to get more complicated, we know that urine infections and candida are an ordeal for many, we know that motherhood takes its toll on us news is coming to us isolated from our friends, from television commercials we know things, but disconnected.
THE PELVIC FLOOR IS PART OF A SPHERE
Let’s put some order. To talk about pelvic floor health you have to understand how it works and how we can help you.
Surely the image that comes to you when you think of the pelvic floor is a hammock holding the bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum. Let me tell you that this image, although it is logical, does not correspond to reality.
The pelvic floor is not a hammock that hangs “down there”, by itself. The pelvic floor, the perineum, is the lower part of a larger set, of a sphere: the abdominal pelvic sphere.
Imagine a balloon. The top of the globe is the diaphragm, the great respiratory muscle, the wall of the globe is the transverse abdominis (the abdominal girdle), and the bottom of the globe is the pelvic floor.
This is a functional unit, that is, the three work together, they influence each other. When you have problems, too much tension, or too much weakness, everyone is affected.
First conclusion: the well-being of the pelvic floor depends not only on it, it depends on the entire sphere
WHAT IS THE MAIN ENEMY OF THE PELVIC FLOOR?
One of the main enemies of the pelvic floor is excess pressure. Imagine what happens if you squeeze that balloon from above. The bottom part is bulging, right? This is exactly what happens to the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor receives excess pressure and cannot support it. This is one of the direct causes of incontinence.
But whose “fault” is it, the pelvic floor or the excess pressure?
The pelvic floor is perfectly designed and adapted to support, but not to receive constant pressure. Most of the time, the perineum is the victim, not the culprit.
Therefore, the therapeutic approach has to be beyond the pelvic floor itself. It is necessary to put order in all the sphere.
How do I detect excess pressure? Visualize yourself in the bathroom, a little constipated. Isn’t it true that when you are using force to expel stool, the belly becomes hard and pushes out? At that moment the pelvic floor is experiencing the same, it is receiving that push and it is bulging.
Remember: the sphere, the globe, is a closed pressure system. What you see in the abdomen is happening below, in the world between the legs.
THE TRICK: BREATHE OUT
Golden tip: Take the air out. Whenever you lift a weight or exert yourself, take the air out.
The fact of removing the air has a double effect: on the one hand it decreases the pressure inside the sphere, as if lifting the valve of a pressure cooker, and on the other hand, it activates the abdominal girdle, the friend and protector of the soil pelvic and our lumbar.
This simple rule seems easy to follow, but it is not so easy. Most people tend to hold their breath when they need to recruit strength, they do what is known as a “Valsalva maneuver”.
If we want to talk about pelvic floor health, we must re-educate ourselves in getting the air out every time we do a moment of force: when lifting a jug of water, when lifting a child, when going to the womb…
Note that “a hard belly” is a very common situation, too common, especially in the sports world. We will talk about sports and the pelvic floor, and especially the abdominals later.
KEGEL EXERCISES ARE THE SOLUTION?
Kegels, pelvic floor contraction exercises are a very interesting tool, no doubt, but also insufficient. Kegels work well on the pelvic floor, but basically, they only work on the perineum.
You have already seen that the pelvic floor is often the victim and not the culprit of dysfunctions. The perineum area expresses problems that come from above, from the upper part of the sphere. Therefore, dedicating yourself to doing Kegels to strengthen is insufficient, it is a patch to stop symptoms, but it is not, at all, a solution.
The solutions for the pelvic floor involve work on the entire sphere: on the pelvic floor, no doubt, but also on the diaphragm and, above all, on the transverse abdomen, the abdominal girdle.
Hypopressive abdominal gymnastics, 5P method (eutony trunk), postural work the pelvic floor requires a vision and a broad therapeutic approach and we will talk about all that, but remember: the pelvic floor is the world between the legs and more there!