Pelvic Floor 101: The 5 S's You Need to Know
Your pelvic floor has a lot of responsibilities! Anchoring your core and holding a whole group of muscles and organs, it’s crucial that you take care of that area between your hips! But, a lot of people ignore this whole section of their body because they don’t exactly know what it does or how to keep it strong and functioning well.
Before we dive into how to care for your pelvic floor, let’s cover why it deserves your attention.
The 5 S's of the Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor keeps your core, hips, and low back stable. Actions as simple as moving your arms and legs would be impossible without your pelvic floor. Ensuring that we keep the muscles around our hips strong can do wonders for avoiding lower back and hip pain.
Your blood and lymphatic fluid are pumped out of your core and through your body with the help of your pelvic floor. When we learn how to properly breathe using our diaphragm correctly, we get the benefits of better circulation and a more stable pelvic floor. This is incredibly important in the postpartum period when we have more swelling and trauma to the area.
Your pelvic floor has a lot to do with your pleasure! It allows for penetration and contracts for orgasms. Paying attention to our own pleasure goes a LONG way for our overall health and happiness.
Opening and closing your bladder and rectum are big pelvic floor responsibilities we often take for granted. The muscles that are responsible for letting waste escape are the same muscles responsible for preventing leakage!
Lastly, your pelvic floor is an important support system. It holds your bladder, rectum, and uterus AGAINST gravity so they don’t fall out.
What happens when your S's stop functioning?
There are a lot of reasons your pelvic floor may struggle to fulfill one or more of its duties. That’s okay! It may be easier to fix than you think.
The first step is understanding the problem. It’s easy to disassociate from your pelvis. A lot of its functions are unfortunately taboo and can even gross people out. When a person struggles with pain with sex, incontinence, or constipation, it can be weird to talk about!
Paying attention to your body can do wonders! And so can talking through your concerns with a physician or pelvic floor physical therapist. Sometimes, they can help you verbalize what it is you’re feeling.
The next step is to get an evaluation. Your body may be experiencing tightness or weakness in your pelvic floor. Maybe you have muscles that need to be worked out or strengthened. It’s really hard to know exactly what’s going on medically unless you get a pelvic floor exam.
Finally, get a treatment plan. A pelvic floor physical therapist can help you devise a plan for overcoming your pain, discomfort, or other pelvic floor frustrations. He/she will likely combine at-home exercises along with in-office treatments that will help your body start feeling better!
How to find a pelvic floor physical therapist near you.
The good news is, a lot more physical therapists are specializing in the pelvic floor than ever before! The bad news is, it’s hard for them to get the word out. You can start by asking your physician for a referral, but just know they might not readily give one.
You are your BEST advocate for your own health. If your doctor is telling you that your pelvic floor pain or frustration is normal, you deserve a second opinion!
If you’re in Kansas or Missouri (or are near enough to travel here!) I’d love to see you for an in-person exam. I also offer virtual wellness consults where we can talk through your experiences and discuss a course of action!