I recently brought Nelly Faghani, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist specialist out to the Women’s Wellness Circle to educate us on the importance of keeping our pelvic floor muscles healthy. It was such a huge eye opener that I wanted to share the information I jotted down with as many people as I could. As these are from my notes, they are meant to bring awareness only, please refer to your own specialist for personal questions and clarification.
Four Main Functions of the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a basket of muscles that support organs against gravity and intra-abdominal pressure as well as vaginal/rectal walls.
- Pelvic organ prolapse is a functional issue coming from genetic predisposition, years of heavy lifting or constipation to name a few. This effects 41% of women over 60 who have not had a hysterectomy. It is a high level of bothersome. Pelvic floor training is highly effective.
The sphincter controls openings of the urethra, vagina and rectum maintaining urinary and fecal continence.
Types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence: coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting.
- This effects 1-3 women and 1-9 men
- Urge incontinence: urine loss associated with a strong uncontrollable need to void or an inability to delay voiding.
- Functional incontinence: physical or cognitive impairment.
- Mixed incontinence: pressure and intense urge to void.
Social Consequences of Incontinence:
- Decreased self esteem
- Impedes social activity
- Impedes physical activity
- Institutionalization – it is the Number 2 reason elderly are institutionalized!
- Heavy economic burden of patients, families and society.
3. Sexual Function (blood flow, orgasm)
Dyspareunia – 25-40% of post-menopausal women find intimacy painful.
Assists in sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Pelvic Floor muscle problems can also cause pain in the sacro-iliac joints. Pelvic floor muscle tightness can slacken the posterior (back) ligaments of the SI joint, and weak pelvic floor muscles can create decreased stability in the SI joints. In other words, if your pelvic floor is too tight or weak, it will de-stabilize the sacroiliac joints.
- Challenges are normal after childbirth.
- Challenges are a normal part of aging.
- You cannot do anything for it.
Pelvic floor exercises are not one size fits all such as Kegels! Each person is different with some categorized as underactive or hypotonicity and some as overactive or hypertonicity.
When should you seek pelvic floor muscle training?
- Before any surgery.
- Before and after childbirth – Core stability training is recommended to prevent and treat back and pelvic pain during and following pregnancy.
- Post-surgery rehabilitation improves strength, relaxation, control and assists in regaining a better quality of life.
- Wash vulva with water only, no soap.
- Wipe from front to back after urination.
- Use organic detergents.
- Use cotton underwear or sleep without.
- Remove wet clothes immediately.
- Never use the feminine product brand “Always”
- Stay well hydrated.
- Normal is 5-8 pee’s per day with 1 overnight. (urine colour: light)
- Constipation creates more risk of challenge.
- Toileting posture – knees above hips. (*think squatty potty)
- If you need to bear down to void, do not hold your breath. Nelly provided a super tip: blow into a closed fist to keep your air moving.
- Bladder irritants include caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, diet pop and artificial sweeteners.
It was a jam packed evening of information and very candid questions and discussion. Life is life and education as always provides more choices.
A huge shout out to Nelly Faghani of Pelvic Health Solutions. Their website is very informative.
If you are in the area – consider joining us for the monthly Women’s Wellness Circles. My website also links to my colleagues in the greater GTA.
Coming up in the next few months for Newmarket/EG are:
June 28th – Wendy Purves-Lambie with Circle Dance
July 19th – Tanya Porter leading Rhythmic Reframing
Aug. 23rd – Elisha McMillan, “Movement as a tool for Healing & Manifestation”
Sept. 27th – Shari Miller creating our own Vison Boards.
Nov. 1st – Bev McLeish, Herbs for Natural Immune Boosting
Nov. 29th – Mickey Eves – Leading with your Heart – using your imagination with purpose and intention.
You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!
Until next time, enjoy our beautiful summer,