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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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Preet & her team actually took time to discuss my WhatsApp query before allocating a suitable therapist based on my situation. She is skilled, empathetic and patient-centred, not to mention a wicked sense of humour. I liked that she gave me “homework” that was easy to follow through the app, and it was never too overwhelming and was tailored to my needs. Post session she continued to answer my queries that arose when doing the exercises. The receptionists are super friendly and helpful too. Always a pleasure to visit Embrace, even tho I don’t live in the East. Highly recommended.

Alicia SY Avatar Alicia SY
October 24, 2023

Love the team at Embrace, the staff here are always friendly and Brenda has been super helpful during my postpartum journey. She took time to understand my needs and prescribing relevant exercises. Highly recommend if you are looking for amazing physiotherapists that specialises in women’s wellbeing

Ru Jih Wong Avatar Ru Jih Wong
January 25, 2024

I had some sessions with Preet from half of my pregnancy to 7 months and it was a total relief. During pregnancy, Preet helps me with sciatic nerve and after delivery she helped me with c-section scar and perineal floor. It was each time a total relief. Preet and her staff are very kind. You can go without asking question!

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January 15, 2024

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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