Is there a formula for fixing pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pssst, be sure you read all the way down to the bottom so you don't miss out on the (free) online Pelvic Floor Challenge!
Wouldn't it be great if the key to a strong, functional pelvic floor was simply doing enough Kegels?
That all it would take to banish embarrassing sneeze pee and keep your pelvic organs up north where they belong would be remembering to Kegel at red lights and while waiting in line. The end.
Sometimes Kegels are just the thing that's needed.
And then there are the stories I hear over and over again from clients and students.
Stories of lots of Kegels and no relief.
"I did my Kegels religiously! My sneeze pee got worse."
"Even though I'm doing my Kegels, I still have pressure and things don't feel right down there."
More often than not, women need a much more comprehensive approach than Kegels offer in order to get relief from pelvic floor dysfunction and things like incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
Sometimes that means working with a physical therapist who specializes in women's health, a bodyworker, or a counselor to address underlying trauma or stress. Sometimes it takes a village to heal a pelvic floor and all 3, or more, may be necessary.
In the Freedom From Kegels course we focus on the movement side of things.
Our formula for approaching pelvic floor dysfunction looks like this:
You can think of this formula like a three legged stool.
Each leg helps to hold up the stool. Without one of these legs, the stool would be really wobbly.
It might manage to stay upright under certain circumstances, but when more demands are placed on it, it's going to tip over.
The corrective exercises leg of the stool will definitely get you some results.
Doing stretches and strengthening exercises will help you strengthen and stretch muscles that are oh-so-important when it comes to the pelvic floor (and yes, it's much more than just the muscles of your pelvic floor).
Corrective exercises also build important brain/body connections so you can have the right muscles doing the right job at the right time and let go of compensation patterns that don't serve you.
But the results you get from doing corrective exercises will be limited if you never address the sneaky daily movement habits leg of the stool.
Your movement habits are things you do day in and day out - your sitting habits, standing habits, walking habits and more.
These habits can help your pelvic floor do its job well or they can undermine your strength and mobility and weaken your pelvic floor in the process.
Habits that don't do your pelvic floor any favors are things like:
- standing with your pelvis thrust forward
- sucking your stomach in all the time, even when you think you aren't
- clenching your glutes when you stand
Doing the corrective exercises without changing the habits that are creating the need for the corrective exercises is a bit like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
You'll get some relief and improvement with just the exercises, but not as much as you would if you also address your movement habits.
Same with the daily movement leg of the stool.
Your body is designed to move, a lot. It requires this movement in order to work well.
Without lots of movement throughout your day the mobility and stability you need to have a healthy body, which includes a pelvic floor that works, won't happen.
(And no, I'm not talking about logging more hours at the gym.)
Movement includes things like walking, squatting, hanging, twisting, lifting, carrying and more.
And while all those movements are important and useful, for a body that's not used to moving in those ways and is instead used to a rather sedentary lifestyle broken up by the occasional burst of high intensity activity, you can't just jump right into the deep end.
Often corrective exercises and shifting your movement habits are needed to help you really get the benefits movement has to offer rather than your movement continuing to reinforce your current strength and mobility limitations.
As you can see, all three parts of this formula work together to support each other.
Want a taste of how they work together?
Join me for the Pelvic Floor Challenge
Sign up to join the FREE 5-day Pelvic Floor Challenge.
Each day, for 5 days, you'll receive a short video guiding you through 1 exercise.
Each of these 5 exercises will help you evaluate the strength or mobility of key areas of your body that have a big impact on the strength and function of your pelvic floor.
You'll develop awareness of how you do these exercises. Often what you think you're doing, is not what you're really doing.
You'll discover exactly where you're missing important strength and mobility, how it impacts your pelvic floor strength and function, and what you can do about it.