What is the pelvic floor and why it matters

Very little is said about the muscles that make up the pelvic floor and yet these are essential for the well-being of women because, if well trained, they can help maintain correct physiological and sexual functions and avoid disorders such as incontinence or dyspareunia . This is why it is important to keep your pelvic muscles toned: discover the specific gymnastics you can also do at home.

In this post we will talk about:

  • The pelvic floor: what it is and how it works
  • The pelvic floor: what it is for
  • Why it is important to keep the pelvic floor toned
  • Menopause and the pelvic floor: what happens
  • How to prevent uterus and bladder prolapses
  • Exercises you can do at home to strengthen the pelvic floor

 

Have you ever had small episodes of incontinence – perhaps after a cough or a loud laugh – or simply feel the need for more frequency in urination? Or to experience aches and pains during the intimacy of a couple ?

Often the origin of these episodes may be the ‘ excessive relaxation of the pelvic floor : a condition common to many post-menopausal women, and more common in those who have had more natural parts.

Taking care of your health and well-being as a woman after 50 also means doing gymnastics for your pelvic floor . These are simple and “invisible” exercises that help you first to discover the position of these muscles and then to train them, strengthening them.

The pelvic floor: what it is and how it works

The pelvic floor is composed of a muscular band that “embraces” the organs contained in the pelvis : the bladder, the uterus and the last part of the rectum. These muscles, in essence, form a sort of “container” which has the task, in addition to containing, of supporting in the true sense of the word (it is called “floor” precisely because it has a supporting function ) the organs of the genital system feminine . The muscles that make up the pelvic floor extend from the pubic bone to the spine.

The pelvic floor: what it is for

This structure performs fundamental functions to guarantee:

  • physiological function
  • sexual function

of the intimate area. This means that in normal conditions of tonicity the pelvic floor means, for example, that you are able to:

  • withhold the urge to urinate (the risk would be urge incontinence )
  • “Contain” urine, feces and intestinal gas if you make excessive effort (otherwise we would speak of stress incontinence ).

The muscles we are talking about are also those that allow you to have satisfying and pain-free sexual intercourse: not surprisingly, the pelvic floor (or perineum) is also called the “muscle of happiness”. Conversely, weak and toneless perianal tissues could reduce the perception of pleasure.

Why it is important to keep the pelvic floor toned

Excessive loss of pelvic muscle tone could lead to urinary dysfunction or prolapse of the bladder or uterus .

The lack of pelvic floor tone could also be responsible, at least in part, for back pain and that protruding belly some women may find themselves struggling with in menopause even though they have always boasted a flat stomach.

If you recognize one or more signs that you have noticed on your body among these, you can contact a gynecologist experienced in menopause who can check the tightness of your pelvic floor and easily understand if the origin of your problems is actually a leak. of muscle tone .

Try to put aside the embarrassment and ask the specialist for help: the simple constancy in performing simple and quick exercises of toning the pelvic floor can be decisive. However, only the gynecologist can identify a tailor-made course for you and, if necessary, appropriate treatments.

Menopause and the pelvic floor: what happens

As the years progress, it is physiological that the pelvic floor muscles, like those of the face and body, undergo a certain “relaxation”. Even hormonal changes related to menopause, and in particular the decrease in estrogen production, can be due to a weakening of the muscles in general and in particular the pelvic .

The principle is the same for the whole organism: muscle mass decreases, fat mass increases, tissues slowly tend to lose tone and elasticity. It is, therefore, a completely natural condition, just as it is also the female genital system that changes after 50 .

However, other factors such as obesity or severe constipation can also weigh on this situation, which can compromise the tightness of the pelvic muscles.

How to prevent uterus and bladder prolapses

Keeping the pelvic muscles active, toned and elastic, is the best way to ensure all possible functionality over the years. If you think it is too late you are wrong: there is always time to start training the pelvic floor and keep it in good condition.

The best way is therefore constant and continuous training (5 minutes a day is enough, even while you are sitting at the computer) and this little effort can help you to remove the risk of prolapses. A prolapse is a downward “sliding” of the organs of the urogenital system that are no longer “held up” by the pelvic floor. It is a highly uncomfortable condition for the quality of your life as a woman that can cause, among other things:

  • Urinary symptoms (difficulty urinating, needing to urinate very often or incontinence)
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Lumbosacral pain (in the lower back)
  • Perennial sense of  heaviness in the lower abdomen area
  • Discomfort when walking or sitting
  • Pain during intimate intercourse
  • Foreign body sensation in the vagina or the vaginal narrowing
  • Recurrent infections and inflammations

These conditions could also be associated with:

  • vaginal dryness
  • Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy

This is why it is essential that you contact the gynecologist when faced with one or more of the situations described. It is true that menopause can change intimacy , but your attitude and your lifestyle can do a lot to put everything back in its place and rediscover the well-being of a couple and the desire to love .

Exercises you can do at home to strengthen the pelvic floor

It may be sufficient to perform easy and simple exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

The best known are those of Kegel and this is our dedicated page .

Here you will find all the explanations of the case but remember: it will be your constancy that will make the difference.

 

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