Mel Collie | Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
If you were watching daytime ITV last week, you would have witnessed a conversation on Loose Women about weak pelvic floor and leaking.
It wasn’t discussed in a manner that was very helpful to other women who find this embarrassing or want to stop this happening, but don’t know where to begin, who still believe squeezing and core exercises are the way to go for a”strong” pelvic floor.
A strong or weak pelvic floor can leak. A weak strong (yes, your muscles can be both) pelvic floor can be “tight” because its working for other muscles , and if its doing the work of other muscles, its exhausted (weak), and does not need any further strengthening without the other muscles its compensating for being strengthened first. For example, the glutes, external hip rotators or inner thigh muscles could be unorganised, which is another way of saying they aren’t working in harmony with the other muscles in the movement chain, maybe because of an injury, a scar- which can inhibit other muscles working well, or just sitting for a living
So, if you are doing pelvic floor exercises and they aren’t working, stop,it isn’t you, and you aren’t doing anything wrong, have a go at doing something else instead.
Heres 2 things you could start to work on instead:
- Awareness of your jaw clenching throughout the day. The jaw and pelvic floor fascia is connected, but the brain can also make the connection to use the jaw for strength, especially when during childbirth you clenched your jaw , the connection between that and pelvic floor contraction and relaxation was made in your brain – what gets fired together gets wired together…Clench your jaw, is your pelvic floor more toned when that happens? If it is, you cant walk around with a clenched jaw all day…or, maybe you have..
- Breathing. Its becoming more commonly known now, thankfully, that proper breathing using the diaphragm rather than the upper chest and shoulders can improve intra-abdominal pressure, thus improving pelvic floor tone , that doesn’t especially mean making a strong pelvic floor weak or strong, but making it work in tune with the other abdominal muscles and diaphragm, so they all work well together, they are more organised. Slow breathing can be practiced before you get out of bed in the morning and when you get into bed at night, in the bath or any other quiet moment to yourself – you need about 60 seconds each time to practice at first. Allowing the exhalation to be a little bit longer than the inhalation , as this is when the oxygen enters the blood cells. Always be aware you practice breathing without clenching the jaw, for me, who has a busy mind, this is the tricky bit, I clench my jaw often, but, with awareness, thats reducing and pelvic floor function has improved.If you find you would rather practice diaphragm breathing on your front, you cn do this too, some clients find this easier, as you are sing the surface your lower abdominals are resting on as feedback , breathing into your lower belly as your press it into the floor, exhaling as it gently lifts away from the floor. always aware the jaw is relaxed, the face soft, the shoulders down your back and glutes relaxed, no tense.
Practicing these 2 very simple free techniques 2 – 4 times a day, will see you get very fast and lasting results, it may, like me, make you aware of how much the jaw clenches, how much stress you can have in your life, even when you think you don’t, how much control you think you have and how surprised you will be when you see how everyday life affects your inner self.
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