It’s not all about Kegels
Far more problems are caused by over-activity and tension held in the pelvic floor than most women realise.
To get a sense of this – make a fist, and now tighten it. Can you see there is very little way to go? It’s the same with the pelvic floor muscles. If there is already a holding going on like the fist or a clenched jaw, when you need the muscles to engage quickly, for example to support the bladder during a cough, there is very little way for them to go.
According to eminent osteopath Leon Chaitow there has been a surge in chronic pelvic pain that coincides with the Pilates movement – in his view due to trigger points in the pelvic floor muscles due to sustained over-holding. This is NOT a criticism of Pilates – an example perhaps of too much of a good thing!
When working as a physio Women’s Health, I found introducing relaxed breathing was an effective way to reduce stress urinary incontinence often reducing symptoms within a few days. Of course this was just a small part of a much bigger picture but none the less, an important one.
A group of us have been trialling the “Buttafly Effect” – using the Buttafly in supine to facilitate a realignment of the spine according to its natural intelligence to re-establish spine and pelvic neutral. This in turn helps to re-establish normal tone in the pelvic floor.
Most of us have a default posture – when we tend to adopt unconsciously. Those who stand with their bottom tucked under – butt grippers – will tend to have a tight pelvic floor and those who stand with an exaggerated arch in their low back will have a stretched pelvic floor creating weakness.
Letting go of holding patterns, re-establishing optimal postural alignment and a normal breathing pattern are key to a healthy pelvic floor.
Yours in Yoga