6 Common Habits That Weaken Your Pelvic Floor Muscles



Your pelvic floor—the basket of muscle groups that sit on the backside of your pelvis—is likely one of the hardest-working muscle teams in your physique.

So when one thing’s not proper, say, when your pelvic muscles are tight or weak, you may doubtless really feel it. A weak pelvic flooring can manifest in some ways, together with urinary incontinence, constipation, painful sex, a back injury, and even pelvic organ prolapse (when a pelvic organ bulges into your vagina).

That is why retaining your pelvic floor strong and wholesome is crucial for a lot of elements of your well being. How to take action, although, isn’t all the time intuitive. The truth is, sure each day habits that appear unrelated or innocent may very well be doing injury.

Right here, Kristen Lettenberger PT, DPT, pelvic flooring bodily therapist at Bespoke Treatments and director of Bespoke Women, shares the what weakens pelvic flooring muscle groups and what to do as an alternative for a wholesome pelvic flooring.

Doing kegels all day

Think about when you flexed your biceps all day? That repeated stress can weaken and even injury your muscle groups. The identical factor can occur to your pelvic flooring if it is overworked, even when you’re doing workout routines which are meant for a wholesome pelvic flooring—like Kegels.

Lettenberger says the muscle groups of your pelvic flooring have extra “endurance-type fibers,” which suggests they work all day lengthy to assist the organs in your torso and stabilize your pelvis.

So when you’re doing too many kegel workout routines, you “can exhaust these muscle groups quicker,” she says, which may end up in elevated tightness, weak point, and dysfunction.

What to do as an alternative:

You’ll be able to undoubtedly nonetheless do Kegels, however strive them carefully. Perhaps do 30 reps a day and break up them up—10 within the morning, 10 within the afternoon, and 10 within the night, says Lettenberger.

Or strive switching up the pace of your Kegels, she provides. You are able to do a mixture of longer contractions to construct endurance (i.e., holds as much as 10 to 30 seconds), and fast, brisk contractions to assist improve muscle coordination.

Sucking in your stomach

Sadly, most of us have sucked in our abdomen at one time or one other in an effort to alter our look. Not solely is that this behavior damaging to our physique picture, nevertheless it’s additionally dangerous to our pelvic flooring.

Sucking in your stomach, additionally referred to as stomach gripping, “can result in some pelvic floor dysfunction” says Lettenberger. Right here’s why: If you suck in your stomach, you don’t permit your diaphragm and core to maneuver at their full vary of movement, she says. This may put elevated strain in your pelvic muscle groups and trigger tightness.

What to do as an alternative:

Whereas ab gripping could also be a troublesome behavior to interrupt, particularly when you’ve been doing it a very long time, strive letting your belly breatheactually. “Enable your stomach to develop along with your breath and naturally contract along with your exhale,” Lettenberger says.

Holding your breath

We have all been there—unintentionally holding our breath once we’re confused, or purposefully holding it whereas doing one thing strenuous (like lifting something heavy).

However this behavior can truly have an effect on your pelvic flooring. Seems, “your pelvic flooring works in unison along with your breath,” says Lettenberger. As you inhale, your pelvic flooring naturally relaxes, and as you exhale, it contracts.

And typically once we maintain our breath, we unintentionally bear down. This turns into doubtlessly dangerous as a result of it will increase the strain in your stomach and pelvic flooring, says Lettenberger.

What to do as an alternative:

“Holding your breath doesn’t inherently hurt your pelvic flooring if you distribute the breath maintain across the torso,” says Lettenberger. When heavy lifting, “attempt to fill your torso 360 levels” with out pushing into the pelvic flooring, she says. To visualise this 360 respiration, “think about filling a soda can, versus squeezing a balloon,” she says.

Likewise, “if you end up holding your breath below stress, strive taking just a few diaphragmatic breaths, letting the pelvic flooring absolutely calm down and contract with inhales and exhales,” says Lettenberger.

“After we slouch, we restrict the quantity of motion into our diaphragm, which works in tandem with our pelvic flooring.”—Kristen Lettenberger, PT, DPT, pelvic flooring therapist


Poor posture can produce pelvic flooring points too.

“After we slouch, we restrict the quantity of motion into our diaphragm, which works in tandem with our pelvic flooring,” says Lettenberger. As we have discovered, when the diaphragm can’t transfer in its full vary of movement, it locations higher strain on the pelvic flooring.

When slouching, “we additionally are likely to tuck our pelvis below us,” says Lettenberger. This causes extra stress and tightness to happen within the pelvic flooring muscle groups and may result in pelvic flooring dysfunction, she says.

What to do as an alternative:

Nobody can preserve good posture all day lengthy. However monitoring your slouching will help. “Attempt to catch your self,” says Lettenberger. “Set a timer for each hour or so to present your self slightly reminder to straighten up,” she says. Take 5 to 10 deep, full breaths to reset. Or strive exercises to correct your posture.

Sporting tight garments

Imagine it or not, what you put on can have an effect on your pelvic flooring well being. “Similar to breath holding or sucking in your stomach all day, sporting tight clothes can limit the motion of your stomach,” says Lettenberger. Once more, this will increase intra-abdominal strain, which may put further pressure on the pelvic flooring.

What to do as an alternative:

If one thing suits tremendous cosy, cuts into your midsection or makes it laborious to breathe, it’s most likely not an excellent garment to your pelvic well being. When attainable, attempt to restrict the period of time you put on very tight clothes, says Lettenberger. Not solely will your pelvic flooring thanks, however you’ll doubtless really feel extra snug, too.

Blowing your nostril on the bathroom

It’s laborious to disclaim the comfort of blowing your nose when utilizing the potty (the bathroom paper and tissues are all inside attain, in spite of everything). However this seemingly benign lavatory behavior may be dangerous to your pelvic flooring. “That is one factor I strongly recommend you strive to not do,” says Lettenberger. Right here’s why:

If you pee or poop, your pelvic flooring must calm down. However blowing your nostril usually causes the other impact. “As you blow your nostril, you might be placing an excessive quantity of strain onto these [pelvic floor] muscle groups,” says Lettenberger.

When accomplished usually sufficient, this bearing down can result in pelvic flooring dysfunction, she says.

What to do as an alternative:

This answer is comparatively straightforward: “Simply wait to blow your nostril till after you might be accomplished with the restroom,” says Lettenberger.

So, how will you inform in case your pelvic flooring is weak?

Some telltale indicators of a weak pelvic flooring embrace the next, based on Lettenberger:

  • You leak once you sneeze, cough, or chuckle.
  • You’ve frequent flatulence that’s laborious to manage.
  • You are feeling a heaviness in your pelvic flooring towards the top of the day.

Weak spot in your pelvic flooring is usually associated to muscle tightness in that area, says Lettenberger. Like another skeletal muscle, your pelvic flooring muscle groups can get weak when overworked (i.e., routinely tense or below pressure).

If in case you have any of those signs, chances are you’ll profit from seeing a pelvic floor therapist for therapy.

Tip: Need assistance finding a pelvic flooring specialist? Sources like PelvicRehab.com and the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy will help you discover a certified pelvic well being therapist in your space.


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