By Shari Jainuddin ND, BCB
We go about our days hurriedly without much care about parts of our body that we take for granted. The pelvis is usually one of them. When people head to the gym you don’t hear people say “I’m going to go work out my pelvic floor muscles,” but they should! This interconnected group of muscles are in charge of a lot of functions that we want to maintain (like holding our urine and stool until a toilet is available). Trauma to the area, including child labor and other surgeries, can leave the closely interdependent organs without the support they once had from the surrounding muscles and at an increased risk for immediate or long-term issues such as organ prolapse and incontinence. Now do I have your attention?
Many people work on their core muscles, which is excellent! It is likely that those same people may unintentionally (or intentionally) be strengthening their pelvic floor muscles at the same time, depending on how they are doing the movements. (I ask you core strengtheners to think about your pelvic floor muscles next time you are working out.) As well, many types of practices, such as some variations of yoga, require engagement of the pelvic floor muscles. If you don’t have any conditions of the pelvis, now is the best time to make sure you are taking action to prevent and reduce the risk of issues in the future. However, if you suffer from organ prolapse or other conditions in the pelvis, you should seek professional guidance on which exercises to do, because you could make things worse going about it yourself.
There are a few books out there specifically for pelvic floor training for particular conditions. What you may not know, is that today there are many practitioners that specialize in pelvic floor muscle therapy, ranging from physical therapists to visceral manipulation experts to biofeedback specialists. If you think you may be having issues related to your pelvic floor muscles, don’t sit on it (pun intended). Please consult with your doctor to determine the proper course of action. Many symptoms and/or the need for medications aimed at controlling those symptoms can be reduced or resolved with proper assessment and training.