Mums, it’s time for that pelvic floor chat. I’m Ashlea from Premier Sports and Spinal Medicine, and we’re going to be putting it all out in the open about some common pelvic floor problems that you actually don’t have to put up with! In the end, I will be talking about a great option that can help you get on track with fixing these problems, as well as a good resource to find out more information.
There are many mums out there who experience issues with their pelvic floor after giving birth and just think it is a normal postpartum experience; and it is, to an extent. But you may also be thinking it has been long enough after giving birth now that it should have fixed itself, right?
Well, unfortunately, like any muscle, strengthening it is something that needs to be worked at. A lot of women I see will have seen a women’s physio for a short amount of time after pregnancy and then stopped altogether. Or they get told to ‘do your pelvic floor exercises’ without any explanation about what that actually means. The latter is a particularly common one after 2020 and the lack of support for some new mums that came with the lockdowns.
The pelvic floor is like a hammock that sits in the bottom of your pelvis. Like any other muscle, it can be weak and needs strength, or it can be tight and needs to be released. It is important to see a professional discover what your pelvic floor needs, as doing exercises for one issue when it is actually another, may end up contributing to the problem rather than fixing it.
If your pelvic floor hasn’t regained its strength after pregnancy, some symptoms within your body may be telling you it needs some attention. Back pain and pelvic pain are common ones, as well as bladder or bowel leakage. It can be embarrassing to talk about, but one in three women will experience continence issues after pregnancy and childbirth https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/pregnancy-and-childbirth.
You may find issues in picking up your children, a need to quickly find a bathroom when you’re out and about when you feel the urge to have a bowel or bladder movement because you feel you can’t hold it or even have issues with laughing, coughing, or sneezing. If these sound like things you are having trouble with, it’s a sign that you need to take action.
We have spoken about a weak pelvic floor, but what about a tight one? It can be common in athletes or dancers, people who are hypermobile, people with pelvic organ issues such as endometriosis, and even can be contributed to by stress and anxiety. A tight pelvic floor can cause some similar symptoms to a weak pelvic floor. If you have frequent symptoms of a urinary tract infection (without the actual infection), pelvic, low back or hip pain, painful sex, or constipation issues, then a tight pelvic floor might be the problem.
It can be difficult for you to distinguish the difference between a tight or weak pelvic floor as the symptoms can be similar. A professional will be able to help you work out what the problem actually is on your body.
Why should you do something about it? Neglecting your needs when it comes to your pelvic floor may result in further issues down the track such as continuing or worsening pain, or even prolapse of the pelvic organs (uterus, bowel, bladder). It’s easy to neglect these issues while you are busy and still able to function because the pain doesn’t stop you, but it is much easier to get on top of these issues now, rather than when they become more of a problem and they start to affect your life.
You might be thinking that you know this is a problem for you and that you need to do something about it, but are unsure of where to start. Well, getting moving in the right environment is definitely the way to go. Clinical Pilates is a great option for those mums with these types of issues.
At Premier, our trained instructors can assess your body and your movement, and put together a program for your pelvic floor rehabilitation. Our clinical classes are small and with equipment, and you will be doing exercises tailored to you and your body. This way it is specific to what your body needs, and will help to get you on track to having a strong and elastic pelvic floor.
Right now at Premier, we are offering an introductory package for Pilates. This package will get you one initial assessment and one private session to start your Pilates journey, and also includes one group class, and a review once you have been coming for a while and need a new program.
So follow the link in our bio to find out more information on this offer and how we can get you started. For further information about incontinence and pelvic floor, the Continence Foundation of Australia is an amazing website that provides the best quality information for you to learn about your pelvic floor.