Pelvic floor dysfunction affects countless men and women. But how do you deal with it?
MORE AND MORE MEN AND WOMEN are putting a band-aid on their pelvic floor issues. We see ads about how pads and liners can make you function better in day-to-day life, but they only cover up the real problems and don’t help you live the life you want.
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) affects approximately one in three women and is often not discussed. Men typically experience PFD post-prostatectomy or following radiation. Pelvic floor disorders include urinary and/or fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, overactive bladder and pelvic organ prolapse. We’re often told to “do Kegels” with mixed results. The Kegel exercise, developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s, was meant to help his patients build pelvic floor muscle strength. Although this set of exercises has been around for decades it is often done incorrectly and doesn’t address all the functions of all layers of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that runs from the pubic bone in the front of the pelvis to the tailbone in the back, composed of both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. They are most effectively engaged not in isolation, like a Kegel, but with movement. These muscles are an integral part of proper core exercises. Working with your diaphragm, deepest abdominals and spinal stabilizers, your pelvic floor functions like a piston. Breath and functional movements are the keys to developing a healthy connection that happens automatically in anticipation of movement.
So why should you train your pelvic floor? The functions of the pelvic floor include:
- Support for the pelvic organs, including the uterus, bladder and rectum
- Provide sphincter control for bladder and bowel
- Withstand increased pressure that occurs in the abdomen with coughing, sneezing, laughing, straining or heavy lifting
- Provide support for spine and pelvis
The proper function of these muscles, just like any other muscle within the body, requires regular exercise. Learning the correct technique for activation and how to relax the pelvic floor is essential for anyone experiencing symptoms of PFD.
Allison Kares is the owner of Movement Unlimited Inc. and has been teaching pelvic floor exercise programs since 2012. She has over 25 years of experience in teaching fitness and rehab exercise programs for all ages and stages of life. Our goal at Movement Unlimited is to help you develop a program that will help you meet your needs and improve your function. For more information about our studio, visit our website or connect with us at .