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6 myths about your pelvic floor

Here at Embrace, we would like to emphasise that embracing and taking control of your pelvic health is a valuable gift; regardless of age, childbirth experience, or delivery method. It’s more than just a few squeezes. Have a read about the pelvic floor here, then come back here and let’s debunk some common misconceptions! Hopefully, it will empower you to be intentional with your pelvic health.

MYTH 1: PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES ARE ONLY FOR SEDENTARY OR OLDER INDIVIDUALS.

Ingrid Nygaard and her team (1994) studied female athletes with an average age of 20 and found that a significant percentage experienced urinary incontinence during sports, with specific rates for various activities.

  • Gymnastics 56%, ballet 43%
  • Aerobics 40%, badminton 31%, volleyball 30%
  • Athletics 25%, handball 21% and basketball 17%
  • Netballers – one in every three
  • Trampolinists 72.7%

This highlights that pelvic health issues can affect young and active individuals due to the repetitive nature of certain activities, leading to weakened support structures (ligamentous, fascial, or muscular).

The pelvic floor muscles, like any other muscles, require regular use to maintain strength. Starting pelvic floor exercises earlier in life establishes a foundation for the childbearing and perimenopausal years and beyond. #skillsforlife

 

MYTH 2: PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES ARE ONLY FOR WOMEN WHO GIVE BIRTH VAGINALLY.

  • Fact A: A significant risk factor for postpartum urinary incontinence is women who experience it during pregnancy, regardless of the delivery method (Foldspang A. et al. 2004).
  • Fact B: By the age of 59, the rate of urinary incontinence is the same for both vaginal and c-section deliveries (Rortveit G. et al. 2003).
  • Fact C: Changes to the pelvic floor begin during pregnancy, with a potential 25% weakening.

MYTH 3: IT’S NORMAL TO LEAK URINE AFTER BIRTH.

 

Repeat after me – it’s common but not normal, and help is available. While some women may not be bothered by it, that’s great. But, if you are not ok with it and don’t want it to be your new norm, then reach out!

Urinary incontinence is common, affecting one-third of women during their lifetime. However, there are numerous interventions available, including education, advice, strengthening, relaxation techniques, and pessaries, tailored to an individual’s pelvic health assessment.

 

MYTH 4: I JUST NEED TO FOCUS ON SQUEEZING.

Muscles need both contraction and relaxation. Often, there’s an excessive focus on strengthening and endurance, neglecting the importance of letting go. This is particularly common among postnatal individuals who fear issues like pelvic organ prolapse.

Subconsciously, our pelvic floor relaxes when we inhale and contracts when we exhale. Stress, shallow breathing, or lack of relaxation can result in a naturally tense pelvic floor. Therefore, during pelvic floor exercises, remember to emphasise full relaxation between reps. Read more about the pelvic floor here

MYTH 5: MY PROBLEMS ARE BECAUSE I HAVE A WEAK PELVIC FLOOR.

Think of your pelvic floor muscles as springs.

A stiff spring doesn’t move much, while an over-stretched spring loses its springiness. Stretched muscles can be weak, but so can stiff tight muscles. Muscles work through a range of motion for optimal strength, force, and power generation.

Your pelvic health concerns may not be solely due to a stretched spring but could involve a stiff, tight one. Only a detailed pelvic floor exam can help understand your contributing factors.

MYTH 6: I NEED TO FIX MY DIET AND DRINK MORE WATER TO ADDRESS MY CONSTIPATION

Did you know that having a bowel movement involves relaxing pelvic floor muscles? While managing fluid and food intake is definitely important to help your constipation, consider that the way you poo, may be a factor. Women’s Health Physiotherapists can assess your defecation dynamics and teach you how to poo like a pro!

Those are just some of the myths about the pelvic floor, and we’ve now debunked them!

If you would like to learn more about your pelvic health, please call or WhatsApp us at 9780 7274, or email us at help@embracephysio.sg.

Feel free to look through our website, where you can learn about other women’s health conditions we treat. This is a safe space where we can discuss how we can help you with physiotherapy.

Note: While I am a physiotherapist, I am not your personal physiotherapist. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as individual medical advice.

Reference:

  1. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-the-pelvic-floor/
  2. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-urinary-incontinence/
  3. Foldspang A, Hvidman L, Mommsen S, Nielsen JB. Risk of postpartum urinary incontinence associated with pregnancy and mode of delivery. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004 Oct;83(10):923-7.
  4. Rortveit G, Daltveit AK, Hannestad YS, Hunskaar S; Norwegian EPINCONT Study. Urinary incontinence after vaginal delivery or cesarean section. N Engl J Med. 2003 Mar 6;348(10):900-7. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa021788. PMID: 12621134.
  5. Nygaard IE, Thompson FL, Svengalis SL, Albright JP. Urinary incontinence in elite nulliparous athletes. Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Aug;84(2):183-7. Erratum in: Obstet Gynecol 1994 Sep;84(3):342. PMID: 8041527.
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I had a wonderful experience with Brenda throughout my post partum recovery. She is very friendly and experienced and it definitely shows as she is able to make me feel at ease and comfortable as she navigates me through the exercises and steps to get me back to where I want to be. Appreciate the help and for making it easy especially with motherhood alr being a challenge. Thanks 🙂

Liying Ho Avatar Liying Ho
March 31, 2022

I saw Preet for a few months with my concerns. She is highly knowledgeable in her field and has incredible bedside manner. Her guidance through my journey has been gentle and she addressed my concerns with a very holistic approach. Every consultation has given me great insight about my issues and I felt heard every step of the way. The clinic also feels warm, cozy and welcoming and makes me look forward to my appointments. Reception is always very friendly and it's a breeze to schedule appointments. Communication has always been easy and fast. Highly recommend Preet and her team!

Jo Lee Avatar Jo Lee
April 26, 2024

I've been to Embrace several times now and for treatment of different injuries. Brenda is professional, compassionate and most importantly knows what she's doing. I'd recommend her treatment to others and will be undoubtedly be going back myself

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July 6, 2022

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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