The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that fan out between the two pelvic bones (your “sit” bones) and runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone, essentially forming a hammock. The strength of this hammock ensures the sturdiness and functionality of the pelvic organs. Because when the pelvic floor weakens, the pelvic organs, in essence, collapse, consequently giving rise to pelvic floor disorders. Alternatively, the pelvic floor muscles can become too tight. This tightness will restrict the function and movement of the pelvic organs, resulting in pelvic dysfunction. Because there are so many muscles in our pelvic floor, you may even experience both weakness and tightness in different areas.
What role does the pelvic floor play in our wellness?
An astronomical role in our well-being! The most important functions of our pelvic floor include organ support (bladder, bowel and uterus), control of our bladder and bowels, healthy sexual function, proper circulation, and to provide strength, stabilization and balance.
How and why are our pelvic floors being compromised?
The factors that can increase the risk of pelvic floor damage are:
● pregnancy and childbirth
● intense physical activity
● prior pelvic surgery
Pelvic floor damage most commonly occurs after childbirth. During delivery, trauma occurs to the pelvic area. This trauma can result in tears, muscle and tissue weakness, and nerve damage.
When pelvic floor disorders arise due to weak pelvic floor muscles, it usually results in pelvic organ prolapse, which means an organ drops from its original position. Examples of this include:
● Cystocele (Bladder Prolapse)
● Enterocele (Prolapse of the Small Bowel)
● Rectocele (Prolapse of the Rectum)
● Vaginal or Uterine Prolapse
On the other hand, pelvic floor dysfunctions take place when the muscles are too tight and their contractions are uncoordinated. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur following childbirth, heavy lifting, or straining (such as during chronic constipation).
Although the mechanism with which they damage the pelvic floor is quite different, pelvic floor disorders and pelvic dysfunction give rise to similar symptoms – pain, discomfort, incontinence.
This is just a brief guide to helping you understand what your pelvic floor is all about. The unique architecture of the female body makes it resilient to extreme weather, enduring changes to the tides of hormones. Regardless, it is not invincible. Foundations may weaken, giving rise to cracks. And when these cracks are not promptly taken care of will lead to deep fissures and ultimately collapse of a system. For this reason alone, it is necessary to take a preventive stance, securing our pelvic wellness.
At Elana, we understand how these pelvic floor disorders/dysfunction can substantially affect the quality of life. It can set you back from your goals in life, be a barrier to your professional life and personal relationships. Thus, addressing the symptoms and opting for treatment can make an enormous difference in your life.