The pelvic floor is fast becoming a topic of discussion amongst friends these days. However, these discussions are never an authentic information source and give rise to several myths.
The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles that support pelvic organs and is essential for optimal bladder and bowel function. Pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to urinary and bowel incontinence, negatively impacting the quality of life.
Affected individuals attribute pelvic floor dysfunction to the normal aging process and believe nothing can improve it. This is simply not true. Myths about the pelvic floor only add to this lack of understanding.
Below, we have broken down the myths surrounding pelvic floor dysfunction and we have also guided you on what to do if you are experiencing the symptoms related to this condition.
Myth 1: Only Women Experience Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Women are more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunction than men. This disparity stems from the physical stress of childbirth that women experience, which is one of the leading causes of pelvic floor dysfunction. This, however, does not mean that men are not prone to pelvic floor ailments.
Men also have a pelvic floor that is anatomically similar to women. As a result, they experience pelvic floor dysfunction as well.
Childbirth is not the sole cause of abnormalities of the pelvic floor. Other factors such as genetic predisposition, constipation, and trauma can also cause pelvic floor ailments. Pelvic floor dysfunction in men can lead to pain with erection and ejaculation in addition to urinary and bowel incontinence.
Myth 2: Kegels Will Fix All Your Pelvic Health Concerns
Kegels are pelvic floor exercises designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. They can be instrumental when pelvic dysfunction is a result of the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. However, weak pelvic floor muscles are not always the cause of pelvic floor problems.
Spasms and overactive contractions of these muscles can also lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. Normally, muscles remain in a continuous state of contraction and never relax, which is an essential part of healthy pelvic floor function.
Similarly, lack of coordination among pelvic floor muscles can cause pelvic floor ailments as well. The muscles are out of sync and do not contract or relax when they need to.
In such cases, Kegels can actually do more harm than good, leading to worsening of symptoms.
Myth 3: An Individual’s Lifestyle/Habits do not Affect Urinary or Bowel Dysfunction
Daily habits and lifestyle are crucial to pelvic floor health. Pelvic floor therapy and exercises can not completely reverse the impact of everyday choices.
Consuming a diet full of junk food and not drinking enough water can lead to chronic constipation. This results in excessive straining during bowel movements that weaken the pelvic floor. Consuming a healthier diet rich in fiber and drinking more water can help prevent this.
Overconsumption of caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, and sodas can irritate the bladder, leading to urination even when the bladder isn’t full. To prevent this, some people adopt the habit of urinating “just in case” before leaving the house. This sends mixed signals to the brain to empty the bladder even if it’s partially filled.
Avoiding caffeinated drinks and only urinating when you have to are effective strategies to prevent this from happening. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can be beneficial to the long-term health of your pelvic floor.
If you suffer from pelvic floor problems, you are not alone.
Fortunately, surgery is not your only option. Professionally designed pelvic floor therapy and targeted pelvic floor exercises can drastically improve your quality of life. We, at Integra Health Centre, take pride in doing exactly that to improve your health and wellbeing!
Call us at (416) 777-9355 or visit our website to book an appointment with an experienced professional right now.