Three Pelvic Floor Myths We Need to Bust
Everyone, no matter their age, can benefit from regular pelvic floor exercises. They help relieve myriad issues and can be done almost anywhere you are able to sit or lie down. So why don’t more people do them?
It may be because they aren’t aware of the many benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercises, or they simply don’t know they need to do them.
There are a lot of false assumptions about pelvic floor dysfunction, and we want to help clear some of these up. There are many at-home pelvic floor exercises you can do to improve your quality of life. You can also seek guidance from one of our experienced physiotherapists.
In this article, we’re going to bust three common myths about pelvic floors, and quickly get you on your way to better overall health.
Myth 1: Only Women Experience Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Although pelvic floor dysfunction is widely considered more common in women, men can experience it as well.
While both men’s and women’s pelvic floor muscles support their bladder and bowels, there are some notable differences. For example, women’s pelvic floors also have the job of supporting their womb and uterus.
Since women need to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to prepare for childbirth, their pelvic floors are spoken about much more often than men’s.
Men with pelvic floor dysfunction can experience symptoms such as constipation, incontinence, and erection or ejaculation pain. Regular pelvic floor muscle exercises can help both avoid and reduce the effects of these symptoms.
If issues are ongoing, men can also see a pelvic health physical therapist for additional care and information.
Myth 2: Kegels Will Fix All of Your Pelvic Health Concerns
Although Kegels are an essential exercise for effectively strengthening the pelvic floor, they shouldn’t be seen as a miracle cure for all dysfunctions. Kegels specifically target weak pelvic floor muscles and can ameliorate problems that require the strengthening of those muscles.
However, if a dysfunction stems from overactive muscles causing spasms and contractions, then Kegels may actually lead symptoms to worsen.
For example, when an issue arises due to a clenched pelvic floor, exercises must be done to relax the muscles instead of tightening them.
Not all pelvic floor muscle exercises are beneficial, however. The use of Kegel weights, or similar products, in the vagina can lead to muscle fatigue and overactivity. It’s best to simply do the necessary exercises without adding any extra weight or special device.
Myth 3: An Individual’s Lifestyle and Habits Don’t Affect Urinary or Bowel Dysfunction
There are a number of lifestyle choices and daily habits with the power to affect the pelvic floor. The good news is that most of the changes required to improve pelvic floor muscles can positively impact many other areas of one’s overall health.
Some steps to improve bladder and bowel health include:
- Eating a balanced diet and incorporating high fibre foods such as whole grains, oats, nuts, fruits, seeds, potatoes, and green beans
- Drinking enough water every day (approximately 1.2-1.9 litres)
- Curbing alcohol intake
- Thoroughly chewing all food
- Not skipping meals
- Exercising regularly, and
- Quitting smoking
Improve Your Pelvic Floor Function
If you’re experiencing discomfort or incontinence because of your pelvic floor, we’re here to help. At Evergreen Rehab & Wellness, our experienced therapists can guide you to the best exercises to strengthen or relax your pelvic floor muscles.
To meet with one of our therapists, call us today at 604-498-5859 (Surrey office), or 604-449-5859 (Coquitlam office). You can also contact us using our online booking portal.