What is Pelvic Health?
Pelvic floor muscles are often overlooked and largely ignored, but did you know that they play a critical role in the body’s core stability? They also support bowel, bladder and sexual function in both men and women. If the “core” didn’t get your attention, I’m sure the other stuff did!
This muscle group does so much for us, but we don’t think about it often because we don’t have to – it does it automatically! The last time you went to the bathroom, the muscles of the pelvic floor released to allow passage of the contents. You probably didn’t have to think about it – it just happened. The last time you jumped or lifted something heavy, the muscles of the pelvic floor engaged and gave your body the support it needed to accomplish the task.
Sometimes though, these muscles lose a bit of their automatic coordination. We call this “pelvic floor dysfunction,” and it can occur as a result of various life events such as childbirth, a fall onto the tailbone, or surgery to name a few.
When this happens, you may notice things like leaking when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Or it might be difficult to hold in urine or gas while jumping, running, or lifting something heavy. It can lead to urgency incontinence, which is when there is a sudden and urgent need to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, it can lead to changes in the bedroom like pain with intercourse. Dysfunction can make it challenging to pass a bowel movement or to release all of your urine. It can lead to pain around the pelvis or even in the surrounding areas like the hip, low back, and down the leg. These symptoms don't always sound like “muscular problems,” but that’s why oftentimes people can go years or even a lifetime without the right diagnosis.
It can be difficult to talk about these kinds of things. The topic often finds itself on the taboo list, and maybe you even feel uncomfortable bringing it up to your doctor. But if you’re experiencing pelvic health issues, trust me, you are not alone. And the great news is that pelvic health physical therapy can help!
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