Women's Health & Continence Care //
The pelvic floor is a layer of muscle and soft tissues which runs between the bottom of your spine and the front of your pelvis. It supports the bladder, bowel and in women the uterus and their outlets pass through it. The pelvic floor muscle helps to control the bladder and bowel as well as contributing to sensation during sexual intercourse.
lf the pelvic floor becomes weak or is injured, bladder and bowel control can be compromised. This may present as leaking when you cough or exercise or experiencing a sudden uncontrollable urge for the toilet.
By strengthening the pelvic floor muscle, bladder and bowel control can be improved and sensation during sexual intercourse can be increased.
Like all exercises it is important that pelvic floor muscle exercises are performed correctly to prevent any adverse responses and to achieve best results.
The pelvic floor muscle in women can be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth. In both sexes, heavy lifting, straining to empty the bowel, a chronic cough or being overweight can affect the pelvic floor muscle. If you already have a weak pelvic floor muscle it can be further weakened by high impact exercise or strong abdominal exercises like sit ups or double leg raises.
The pelvic floor muscle can also become weak if you neglect it and forget to exercise it.
You should seek advice if you have any of the following:
· Concerns about your bladder or bowel control.
· Symptoms of a prolapse, for example bulging, heaviness or dragging inside the vagina.
· Difficulty performing pelvic floor muscle exercises or if you are unsure if you are doing the exercises correctly.
· If you experience any pain while performing the exercise.
Naomi Gill is a qualified Continence Physiotherapist and can help you improve your pelvic floor strength and bladder control. She consults in Naracoorte, Bordertown and Keith.