In this article, we will be covering; what the pelvic floor is, where it’s located and the functioning role it has to play in your body. We will also look at how you can strengthen your pelvic floor to help control bladder leakage.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a vital muscle that helps to control the bladder. The pelvic floor muscles are quite possibly our bodies biggest unsung hero. They play a crucial role in our day to day bodily function, from facilitating healthy bathroom habits to supporting our posture and physical movements.
Where is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. They run from the frontal pubic bone to the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin, the pelvic floor holds the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder) in place and supports the bladder to provide control when you urinate. They relax as the bladder contracts to let urine out and tighten in order to allow you to hold. In a nutshell, a strong pelvic floor means everything is kept firmly in place and you should have full control over when, where and how often you visit the restroom.
How to Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles can be notoriously hard to isolate because you can’t see them or feel them with your hands. And nearly 50% of women are unable to contract their pelvic floor muscles on their own.
While you are breathing naturally, try and squeeze in and hold the muscles inside the pelvis. You should be aware that nothing above the belly button should tighten or tense, this shouldn’t feel like you are doing stomach crunches.
A little tensing and flattening of the lower part of the abdominal wall will happen. This is not a problem, as this part of the abdomen works together with the pelvic floor muscles.
If you do this correctly you should feel just the pelvic floor muscles lifting and squeezing in, similar to the sensation of when you hold in to stop flatulence.
What Happens if You Have a Weak Pelvic Floor
A weak pelvic floor is the primary cause of urinary Incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles can lose their tone due to a number of different triggers, and which result in an inability to control urination. 1 in 3 women experience incontinence every single day, which makes it more common than hay fever.
What causes pelvic floor weakness
The most common causes of pelvic floor weakness include:
- Pregnancy and Childbirth: changes in hormones and the weight of a growing baby can place a lot of additional pressure on the pelvic floor while pregnant. You may start to experience pelvic floor weakness as early as 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The trauma of childbirth whether by natural birth or caesarean section can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leaving the neck of the bladder unsupported resulting in long term issues with urinary leaks. This is particularly true following births involving forceps delivery.
- Menopause: hormonal changes such as drops in oestrogen can result in the pelvic floor muscles losing their tone and strength resulting in a lack of bladder control
- High impact exercise: high-intensity exercise like running, gymnastics, crossfit and HIIT classes can lead to a weakening of the connective tissue that supports the bladder due to constant and repetitive pressure when undertaking such activities
You May be Experiencing Pelvic Floor Weakness if:
- You accidentally leak urine (and quite often)
- You struggle to make it to the restroom in time
- You have pain in the pelvic area
- Reduced feeling or sensation during sex
- Accidentally passing gas
How to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
The great news is that pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened and restored. By strengthening the pelvic floor and focusing on muscle balance, you can tackle the root cause of the issue rather than just managing the symptoms.
Many women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises like 'Kegels' or may opt for more intrusive solutions like internal probes or surgery. Kegel exercises or manual pelvic floor exercises are reliant on doing them correctly- which for about 50% of women is impossible. Doctors recommend doing up to 300 Kegel contractions a day for 4-6 months2 in order to see results. That's a huge amount especially when there's a risk they're not being done correctly!
INNOVO takes the guesswork out of strengthening your pelvic floor
Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through its patented at home technology.
Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been clinically proven to eliminate bladder leaks.