Myths about your pelvic floor that you should ignore
If you are a woman who has experienced leaking, or other issues connected to your pelvic floor, you may have heard a few common misconceptions.
In this post, I bust those myths about our pelvic floor, how it functions and what we can do to improve it.
It’s normal to leak
If you experience leaking when you cough, run, jump, laugh or sneeze you may have been told that it’s just a normal part of being a woman. That as we age, or as we have kids, or as we go through the menopause, our pelvic floor muscles get weak and leaking is inevitable.
But actually, that’s not the case.
Yes, our pelvic floor can change as we go through life, and yes it is quite common for some women to experience leaking, but it’s not an inevitable part of being female.
Being told it is inevitable or normal makes it sound like there is nothing you can do about it. That you should just put up with something that is uncomfortable, can be embarrassing and upsetting, and can stop you doing activities you love, just because you are a woman.
That is not the case, and it’s time this myth was put in the bin!
You can’t do anything about it
Hand in hand with the idea that it is inevitable or normal is the myth that you can’t do anything about pelvic floor leaking and dysfunction. If it’s a normal part of being a woman, then there is nothing you can do to change or improve it.
Which is definitely not true!
The pelvic floor is a muscle (actually a group of three muscles) and like any other muscle in the body, it responds to training. Taking part in a pelvic floor programme such as my Holistic Core Restore® Everywoman course or seeing a women’s health physio can really improve both the function of your pelvic floor and your quality of life, something backed up by this review from 2018.
So, if you are experiencing leaking, see someone about it. You don’t have to wait for it to get worse, or for it to affect your quality of life, do something about it now.
If you leak you need to do more pelvic floor exercises
Depending on why you are leaking, doing more pelvic floor exercises may not be the answer.
Having a “weak” pelvic floor is not the only cause of leaking. Often it’s because the pelvic floor is too “strong” and under constant tension. And if you have a strong (hypertonic) pelvic floor then more exercise will only make it stronger, creating more tension, and you will keep experiencing leaks.
So, rather than doing more pelvic floor lifts and Kegels, you need to concentrate on letting go, on downtraining and relaxing the pelvic floor.
In fact, this will also help you if you have a “weak” pelvic floor as it will help you to get a good connection and enable you to do stronger lifts.
Peeing when exercising means you’re working hard
There is a myth that if you leak when you exercise it is a sign that you’ve had a good workout. That you’ve pushed yourself, that you are improving and that you’ve worked hard.
But really it’s a sign that your pelvic floor can’t cope with the load you are putting on it, that it’s not ready (yet).
Leaking when exercising is a sign that you need work on improving your pelvic floor by reducing load, breathing better and controlling abdominal pressure. This might mean going back to basics and learning how to move in a more connected way, but you’ll be glad to hear it doesn’t mean you need to stop being active.
If you are a runner, it might mean walking whilst you build your strength and improve posture and breathing.
If you lift weights, it might mean changing to bodyweight movement whilst you learn to control pressure and activate the pelvic floor through breath work.
All with the ultimate aim to get you back to doing what you love, without the leaking.
Only women who have had babies experience pelvic floor issues
Whilst it is the case that it is more common in women who have been pregnant or given birth, you don’t need to have had a baby to experience pelvic floor dysfunction.
Stress can lead to a pelvic floor that is constantly under tension, as many women hold stress in their pelvis, which can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Women who take part in sports at an intensive level, or gymnastics or ballet, can also have a too strong pelvic floor.
The decline in oestrogen in perimenopause and menopause can affect the connective tissue which supports the pelvic floor, leading to weakness.
There are many other reasons why women who have not been pregnant or have given birth may experience leaking, and shouldn’t put you off from seeking help and advice.
Having busted all these myths I hope you realise that leaking and pelvic floor dysfunction shouldn’t be seen as an inevitable part of being a woman. That there are things you can do to help improve your pelvic floor and, in doing so, your quality of life.
And if you want to know how I can help through my Holistic Core Restore® Everywoman programme, do get in touch as I would love to help.