Pelvic power – to be incontinent or not to be!

So this month, as requested by my clients, we are going to explore our pelvic power in our pilates classes. Some of my older clients are very interested in doing exercises to improve and ensure their pelvic floor.

But here’s the thing, how difficult is it to feel your pelvic floor? We were once told to think of your pelvic floor being like an elevator which you make rise up from ground to say floor 3 of a 10 storey building and then back down again a few times. Okay I’ll give it a go but actually I don’t really relate to my pelvic floor or pelvis being like an elevator. Then there is a more graphic outlook by simplistically trying to tighten the front hole but not the back and then we have good old Kegels where you consider those muscles that help you stop urinating, hold them for a few seconds at a time and add on till you can hold up to 10 seconds and repeat a couple of times a week.

Tricky isn’t it though to begin to feel anything happen down there and actually how much should we be able to feel because it is supposed to work subconsciously without us thinking too much about it at all.

That being said, our pelvic floor does seem to get lost as we get older? It can be weaker meaning that you might leak quite easily from coughing, exercise, laughing and lifting for example or it might actually be too tight which I suspect many of us didn’t realise. A tight pelvic floor is just as uncomfortable as weak one and possibly more painful.

How does the pelvic floor get weakened then:-

Pregnancy yes the obvious one and to what extent you have a traumatic pregnancy will affect your future pelvic power and how many babies you have.

Being overweight so more pressure pushing down

Injury to that area

Family history of pelvic floor problems like prolapses

Not having much sex and therefore orgasms

How does the pelvic floor get tight:-

Again not having much sex features so you are not used to relaxing and contracting in this area

Overdoing your exercising/abdominals so perhaps too much core contraction in your Pilates session

If you are very stressed this can make this area more tense

Did you know that during the menopause some women can lose flexibility in the pelvic floor through lack of oestrogen?

Tightness can cause discomfort going to the toilet and constipation and possibly bring on lower back pain.

So whatever is going on with your pelvic power, it is important to make sure you are giving it some attention.

We are going to be doing five weeks of gradually helping my ladies reconnect with their pelvis so that they actually start noticing how it moves or possibly doesn’t and whether they can notice their SIT bones widening and narrowing as they sit and stand, as they pilates bridge or as they rock their pelvis forward and back on the mat laying down. Getting reacquainted with an old friend.

We will look at the connection between glutes, inner thighs and pelvic power and try to restablish a better balance. Perhaps the bottoms are working too hard and squeezing when really we need more pelvic floor. Perhaps the inner thighs could quite easily pop that small ball we are given to hold in bridging but try to hold that bladder in a dash to the toilet no chance.

Many things to consider and explore. It will be an interesting few weeks with no doubt more blogs to come.