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Hidden Heroine: What is the Women’s Pelvic Floor?

Ever heard of the pelvic floor? Do you know where it is, or better yet, have you seen it? The pelvic floor— or specifically a woman’s pelvic floor, is a hammock-like group of muscles that start from the pubic bone in front and attach to the tailbone by the rear. It’s important to keep these muscles healthy!

But it’s definitely not easy to train a muscle that you can’t see. Up to 40% of people incorrectly contract their pelvic floor muscles even with verbal instruction, emphasising the need for proper guidance from a women’s health physiotherapist.

These muscles are designed to:

  • Support the pelvic organs: bladder, uterus, and bowel
  • Assist in the opening and closing of these organs
  • Prevent incontinence and prolapse
  • Contribute to lumbopelvic control
  • Which all ultimately help to maintain intra-abdominal pressure

It may be interesting to know that the voluntary contraction of these muscles also contributes to sexual excitement and arousal.

WHAT ARE THE CORE MUSCLES?

Core muscles collectively refer to the transverse abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles. Working in harmony, these muscles support your spine and pelvis, facilitating movement. Proper breathing techniques are crucial to ensure optimal recruitment and minimise downward stress on the pelvic floor, particularly during the pre and postnatal periods or after surgery. Strengthening and coordinating these core muscles contribute to overall stability, posture, and functional movement, crucial for a healthy pelvic floor.

WHAT IS PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION?

This refers to the signs and symptoms that arise from changes in the way the pelvic floor muscles, fascia, and organs function. These may include:

  • Incontinence (urinary or faecal or flatal)
  • Constipation
  • Prolapse
  • Dyspareunia
  • Pelvic pain

ARE ALL THESE PROBLEMS DUE TO PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLE WEAKNESS?

The short answer is no! Just like any other muscle, pelvic floor muscles are designed to contract and relax. Dysfunction can happen from a lack of strength or endurance, increased muscle tone (muscles that are working too hard and don’t know how to switch off), or coordination difficulties.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR WOMEN’S PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION?

  • Pregnancy and childbirth, regardless of delivery mode
  • A history of constipation
  • BMI >25 kg/m2
  • A history of heavy lifting, whether it be occupational or recreational
  • A history of chronic cough, smoker’s cough, bronchitis, or asthma
  • Ageing
  • Hormonal, like a decrease in oestrogen

There are also reasons why you should get your pelvic floor muscles checked before you give birth. These muscles play a significant role in pregnancy and childbirth, and it’s always good to know what to do beforehand for pelvic floor healing.

CHECK HERE IF YOU NEED PHYSIOTHERAPY FOR YOUR PELVIC FLOOR!

DO YOU….

  • …accidentally leak urine when you exercise, play sports, laugh, cough, or sneeze?
  • …get the urge to rush to the toilet? Do you sometimes not make it in time?
  • …constantly need to go to the toilet?
  • …find it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel?
  • …accidentally lose control of your bowel, or accidentally pass wind?
  • …have a prolapse (Like a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, bubbles or dragging in the vagina or feel/see a bulge)?
  • …experience pelvic pain or pain during or after sex that involves vaginal penetration?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consult with a women’s health physiotherapist.

Here at Embrace Physiotherapy, we want to help you embrace and regain control of your life through physiotherapy. If you have any questions about the pelvic floor or are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, 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 personal medical advice.

References:

  1. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-urinary-incontinence/
  2. https://www.embracephysio.sg/faecal-incontinence-in-women-how-physiotherapy-can-help/
  3. https://www.embracephysio.sg/why-you-should-get-your-pelvic-floor-muscles-checked-during-pregnancy/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780123694430500648 (from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/kegel-exercise)
  5. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pelvicfloor/conditioninfo/causes
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Love EmbracePhysio team and Preet. From the initial physio sessions for my Dysmenorrhoea issue to current pre-natal sessions, Preet has always been so encouraging and patient with me. Exercises are customised based on my body condition and ability. Always feel welcome for every single follow up. Highly recommended! 🥰

Ong Mei Ping Avatar Ong Mei Ping
June 12, 2023

Embrace physiotherapy was my first Physio experience. I had been having issues 3+ years postpartum and I had therapy from both Preet and Brenda. They were both fantastic therapists and helped me with separate issues such as alignment and my constant UTI's. I did my first ever Pilates class in their very well equipped studio in Joo Chiat as well which I loved! Was really pleased with the outcome of my sessions! Learnt some new moves and felt so much better!!

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November 8, 2023

Professional, Knowledgeable, Patient and Caring - highly recommended! I’ve completed 8 sessions with Preet to prepare for birth and a follow up post birth and was impressed at her level of care. She does a thorough assessment while keeping you comfortable and relaxed. I would highly recommend Preet

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September 30, 2021

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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