Pelvic floor: The great forgotten by women
You probably hadn't been interested in the pelvic floor before until you started having problems.
In fact, the most common is that you did not even know of its existence. The pelvic floor is the great unknown, there are many taboos about it and very little education.
In this post you will learn everything you need to know to improve the health of this muscle group.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a set of muscles and ligaments found at the base of the pelvis.. It somehow collects as a "floor" and supports the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. The pelvic floor is part of the core, those internal muscles that enclose our abdomen.
It is responsible for controlling urinary and anal continence. It is a process that we learn to consciously operate when we remove the diaper. When we lose that ability to control, we are having a continence problem.
Consequences of a damaged pelvic floor
A weak pelvic floor presents these symptoms:
- Urinary incontinence, light or abundant.
- Prolapse: drooping of intra-abdominal organs.
- Lumbar pain.
- Sexual dysfunctions: not feeling orgasms or suffering pain during intercourse.
How is the pelvic floor damaged?
There are several reasons why this muscle group loses its ability to function.
If there is not a correct activation of the pelvic floor and the transversus abdominis (something you don't think about until you already have a urine leakage problem), there is an excessive push on the bladder and that is when we have leaks.
Pelvic floor damage in impact sports
Because of the intensity that this sport demands, urinary incontinence in women has become "normal". It is not just that you notice that you are losing control and you tell it in confidence to another girl in the locker room to see if she feels the same...
It is good to speak out loud and clear about a problem that is usually carried in a hidden way, but it cannot simply be normalized. Just because it is a general problem does not mean that it has to remain so, as if there were no other options.
If you do CrossFit and your pee leaks, then no! If you do CrossFit and you have incontinence problems, no matter how mild the symptoms may seem now, you need to fix the problem..
If you suffer leaks in any of these exercises, you should reinforce this area:
- Box Jump
- Double Unders
Olympic lifts with the lumbar belt
Elite female athletes have no qualms about making posts on networks in which they claim that when they do high weight lifts they get their tights wet. Just because it is common among girls does not mean that it is the norm..
That is why we sometimes use the lumbar beltHowever, we should be more cautious and use this accessory in a conscious way.
By using the belt we are adding even more pressure to the pelvic floor. While the belt should work as an accessory that brings more stability to the entire core, reduces bad positions of the lower back and gives you the information you need to activate the muscles, it also has its downside.
They can offer the false sense of security that allows you to do heavier lifts than you can actually move safely. Somehow you rely on them and stop doing the core work you need to actually use them in your lifts.
Think of a balloon that you try to squeeze in the center as you would a belt. The pressure makes the balloon push up and down and that is what happens in our body with a lumbar belt.
The pressure it exerts ends up pushing on the pelvic floor muscles and if you use the belt systematically, this extra pressure on your pelvic floor can lead to serious injury..
Pelvic floor in pregnancy, childbirth and post partum
During this stage it is quite common to suffer damage to the pelvic floor in some of its phases.
During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to carry more weight than they are used to. The damage depends on the amount of pressure (the heavier the weight, the more likely it is to be damaged), how strong it was before pregnancy...
In vaginal delivery, pushing can also damage muscles already weakened after 9 months of gestation.
And postpartum, if we have not been aware of how weakened our pelvic floor muscles are and simply ignore it, we can end up causing an injury if we did not already have one.
The simplest way for this to happen is incorporating impact activities into our activity without having re-strengthened our muscles so that they can withstand the load.
And even though women often don't have the support they need for recovery after childbirth, it's important to seek help.
It is recommended to visit a physiotherapist specialized in pelvic floor for a postpartum assessment before starting any physical activity again.. If your pelvic floor muscles are not ready for it, you could hurt yourself.
It is one of the main causes of pelvic floor weakening. Having trouble going to the bathroom causes forced evacuations that damage the muscles of the pelvic floor. Moreover, it is a repeated action that we do almost every day.
For this reason, it is essential to review the diet and recover a healthy diet. diet based on real food to provide us with all the fiber and nutrients we need for the digestive system to function normally.
Recover the foods you have always eaten, learn to eat well, you don't need to follow a sheet of paper. You just need to be explained in a clear and simple way how to make the best food choices for your health forever.
Solving urinary incontinence
It is not a matter of stopping your favorite sport because there are almost infinite physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, but there are certain caveats to keep in mind to minimize the negative impact on your pelvic floor.
Nor is it a matter of using a compress because the problem will still be there. The most important thing is becoming aware of and willing to take action to improve pelvic floor tone.
Yes or yes, this is your starting point if you have urine leakage, no matter how slight it may seem right now. It doesn't matter if they appear because there were a lot of double jumps today, because you had to run more than usual, because there were box jumps or super heavy squats. It doesn't matter with which exercise, or if you overdo it when you sneeze. You can improve your situation, but you must do it with an expert in the field.
Until you have seen yourself in this situation, you probably have not known that there are expert physiotherapists in pelvic floor. They will undoubtedly be the best ones to help you with your particular case, to make an evaluation, direct you in the recovery exercises, reevaluate you and so you can continue training safely.
You can do these types of exercises if you are certain that you really know how to engage your pelvic floor muscles. But it is not easy to train these muscles on your own, and even less so if you have not had previous advice.
On many occasions, are so weakened that many women activate their glutes or abs, instead of focusing the exercise where it is really needed.. So, again, it is best to have the supervision of an expert to guide you, although you can then do the exercises on your own as recommended.
This new trend that helps training your core without crunches is one of the best ways to improve your pelvic floor tone..
And although it is quite logical, if you already have a pelvic floor problem, avoid exercises that will worsen your condition while you are undergoing rehabilitation. Exercises such as double jumps, box jumps, running, heavy belt lifts... not that you should eliminate them forever, but while you are improving your pelvic floor tone it is best to avoid them.