5 tips, treatments, and therapies for pelvic floor issues

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Pelvic floor issues can have far-reaching effects on our overall health and well-being, impacting various aspects of our lives, ranging from bladder control to sexual satisfaction. Nevertheless, many of us experience pelvic floor related problems at some point in our lives, leading to discomfort, embarrassment, and diminished self-esteem. Thankfully, help is at hand!  Read on to discover some useful tips, treatments, and therapies that will allow you to better understand and manage your pelvic floor health.

What are pelvic floor issues?

Before we delve any deeper, it’s important to understand exactly what is meant by pelvic floor issues. The pelvic floor is an anatomical area made up of three different layers of muscles. They work together to support the different organs located in the pelvis and are involved in a variety of different everyday functions. The pelvic floor muscles are solicited each and every time you cough, laugh, sneeze, and even lift or move your arms and legs vigorously.Pelvic floor issues can affect both men and women, but often first arise during pregnancy or after childbirth. Obesity and chronic constipation can also have a severe impact on the ability of the pelvic floor muscles to work effectively.

Top Tip #1: Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises or ‘Kegels’ are highly effective in improving pelvic floor dysfunction – provided they are performed regularly.Kegels are performed by the contraction and relaxation of pelvic floor muscles. Theycan facilitate an increase in strength and endurance, reduce incontinence, pelvic pain,and sexual dysfunction. Using a pelvic floor trainer or kegel exercise deviceallows the strengthening of these muscles and make it easier to performKegels. In addition, some devices come with biofeedback sensors, which help gain greater awareness and control over your bodily functions.

Top Tip#2: Dietary Adjustments

It might seem surprising, but what you eat can also play a role in pelvic floor health. A balanced diet rich in fiber is a good way to help prevent constipation, which is a known aggravator of pelvic floor issues. Constipation results in a stool that is harder to pass and requires more straining – which puts added pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Adding fiberto your diet doesn’t have to beburden; to get the recommended 30 grams a day (which is roughly 1 oz), consider opting for whole grains, adding seeds or nuts, and including a wide range of different fruits and vegetables into your diet. For instance, whole wheat bread has 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, while white bread has just 2.9 grams.

Top Tip #3: Meditative Practices

It’s commonly accepted that the mind and body are intricately linked, and research has recently shown how stress can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. Practices such as yoga or meditation can promote relaxation and reduce tension in the pelvic area. Some yoga poses even target the pelvic floor muscles, which can contribute to enhanced flexibility and strength. Similarly, applying mindfulness techniques may add another beneficial strategy in a more holistic approach to the management of pelvic floor issues.

Top Tip #4: Medication

Sometimes, medication can help alleviate some of the root causes of pelvic floor issues, such as constipation. Stool softeners, available from your local pharmacy without a prescription, can improve bowel problems, while trigger point injections can also be administered to target overly tense muscles.

Trigger points are tight knots or bands within muscles that can cause localized pain. If they play a role in the context of pelvic floor issues, these points can contribute to pain and discomfort. Trigger point injections involve injecting a local anesthetic and potentially a corticosteroid directly into these trigger points to provide pain relief and reduce muscle tension. Always talk to your healthcare provider if you want to explore these options.

Top Tip #5 Acupuncture

The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is sometimes hailed as a remedy for pelvic floor issues. In the context of pelvic floor dysfunction, the thin needles used in acupuncture are thought to promote relaxation and alleviate tension within the pelvic muscles. By targeting specific acupuncture points associated with pelvic health, this therapy aims to enhance blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, as well as encourage the release of endorphins, thought to contribute to pain relief. While research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for pelvic floor issues is ongoing, some patients have reported improvements in symptoms such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and muscle tightness.

Pelvic floor issues are a surprisingly common complaint, yet barely discussed,even though they can have a debilitating effect on the everyday lives of those who are affected by it. Thankfully, though, several techniques can help to alleviate – if not cure – the symptoms and root causes, fostering a renewed sense of well-being and vitality.