One in three women suffer from concerns stemming from this part of the body, and it takes nearly seven years for women to talk to their doctor about these concerns… if they ever say anything at all.
Can you guess the part of the body to which I am referring?
It’s the pelvic floor, a set of tiny muscles with a very big job. Unfortunately, the pelvic floor is often overlooked and under-discussed due to lack of awareness, shame, and embarrassment.
The pelvic floor is DEEP, both literally and figuratively. Nowhere else in the body is a group of muscles so charged with emotion and ingrained with deeply held beliefs than the pelvic floor.
My biceps? I’ve got no attachment. My calf muscles? I’m glad I have them, but I’ve never given them a second thought.
But the pelvic floor…that’s different. The pelvic floor surrounds the orifices through which we:
- Poop and pee (and all the issues and potential mishaps that can surround these bodily functions!)
- Pass gas (who hasn’t had an unforgettable and embarrassing “slip?”)
- Experience our first menstrual cycle and all the excitement (or shame, or fear) leading up to that day…and then experience it again and again, every month thereafter until menopause…
- Have sex and birth babies
Digging a little deeper, it’s also the place where some women:
- Experience excruciating pain from common and under-discussed conditions such as endometriosis.
- Try desperately to conceive, crying each month when their period comes again.
- Lose babies… A heartbreak that’s often under-acknowledged when loved ones don’t know what to say, or how to help grieve the loss.
- Sweat and tense up on the exam table during gynecological examinations.
- Were traumatized or abused (nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States report having been raped or having experienced attempted rape).
- Lose their independence (incontinence is one of the top reasons that females are admitted into senior care facilities / nursing homes).
The pelvic floor muscles are hidden deep inside. When working well, they help support your posture and your internal organs, they keep you dry and leak-free, and they’re an integral part of sex. But most people have never thought about their pelvic floor, nor do they do anything on a regular basis to keep these muscles strong and healthy.
Although as many as 1 in 3 women deal with bladder leakage and 50% of postpartum women experience some degree of pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic health is taboo. People rarely work with this part of their body because they don’t know how, and they don’t know that there’s help.
The great news is that pelvic floor concerns such as bladder leakage, prolapse, and pelvic pain are preventable and treatable. You can keep your pelvic floor muscles strong and vital for life if you take one simple step, and that is to begin paying attention!
The first step I recommend to all readers is to schedule a consultation with a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area. Pelvic floor physios are specially trained providers who can help determine your level of pelvic floor strength, coordination, and control. If you have issues such as bladder leakage, feelings of pelvic heaviness (often associated with prolapse), painful sex, or even low back pain (which can be associated with pelvic floor dysfunction), a pelvic floor PT can help. After an initial examination, your PT will provide you with specific exercises and lifestyle tips that can help you manage – and in some cases even reverse – the conditions mentioned above naturally, without surgery or other more invasive medical interventions.
You don’t have to live with embarrassing concerns stemming from your pelvic floor. Although these issues are common, they’re not normal. There is hope, and there is help! Awareness is the first step, and from there, you can take back control.
Learn more about how the pelvic health and core programs offered at FemFusionFitness.
Brianne Grogan is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, women’s health and nutrition coach, YouTube influencer, podcaster, and author. Her passion is to help people heal themselves naturally via healthful nutrition and safe and effective core fitness. This holistic way of living will change your body and your life, and it’s contagious! When you eat clean and move every day, you will shine brighter…and others around you will rise to your brilliance.
Learn more about Dr. Bri at FemFusionFitness.