The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles work together to control urine flow, assist in sexual function, and help stabilize the pelvis. When these muscles are weakened, it can cause a variety of problems. Here are five signs that may indicate you may need help with your pelvic pain.
Urinary Incontinence, You leak urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze.
Many men and women leak urine when they laugh, cough or sneeze. This is often a sign of a weakened pelvic floor and can be fixed with some simple lifestyle changes and strengthening exercises through a physiotherapist.
The pelvic muscles support your bladder and help keep it closed so that you don’t leak urine. If these muscles are weak, they can’t do their job as well, which can lead to incontinence. Often, leaks happen when you cough, sneeze or laugh because those activities put extra pressure on your bladder. Other activities that can put pressure on your bladder and cause leaks to include lifting heavy objects, exercise, and pregnancy/childbirth.
Changing your lifestyle can often help reduce or eliminate urinary incontinence. For example, if you are a smoker, quitting smoking will improve your overall health as well as the health of your muscles. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can also help reduce the pressure on your bladder and improve muscle function. Other lifestyle changes that can help include avoiding constipation (which can cause straining), cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, and reducing stress.
These muscle exercises (sometimes called “Kegels”) are another effective way to treat incontinence. These exercises can help strengthen your pelvic bone and pelvic area, which can help prevent leaking.
You feel like you need to urinate more often than normal.
Many people believe that urinating more frequently is a sign that you are struggling with weak pelvic floor muscles. However, this is not necessarily the case.
While it’s possible that this can indeed lead to urinary incontinence, there are other factors that can contribute to this condition. For example, pregnancy and childbirth can weaken and cause issues with bowel movements, as can being overweight or obese. Age can also play a role, as bladder and bowels tend to weaken with age.
In addition, certain medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, can cause urinary incontinence. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are concerned about your urinary habits. They will be able to determine the cause of your symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment.
That being said, there are some exercises that can help to strengthen bladder control and eliminate leakage. These exercises, known as Kegels, involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that control urination. They can be done anywhere and at any time, even while sitting at your desk or watching TV.
If you’re unsure, concerned, or have questions about this your best bet is to reach out to our team at Kinesis Physical Therapy and we’ll be happy to help answer any questions you may have.
You experience pain during sexual intercourse.
For many people, pain during sex is a taboo topic. It’s something that’s difficult to talk about, even with a healthcare provider. But the truth is, pain during intercourse is more common than you might think—and it could be a sign that you are experiencing symptoms of an injury to the pelvic area.
If you’re experiencing pain during sex, it’s important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They can help you determine if your pain is due to a weak pelvic floor or another underlying condition. While there are treatments available that can reduce symptoms, such as physical therapy, sometimes the best solution is to avoid activities that put too much strain on those muscles. If you are experiencing pain with sex, it’s best to seek a doctor as a physiotherapist may recommend seeing them first before working on improving your muscles in the pelvic region.
Pain during intercourse is relatively common, but that doesn’t mean you should just suffer through it. If you’re experiencing pain during sex—particularly if that pain is new or has gotten worse over time—it’s important to talk to an expert. They can help you determine what the right treatment options available are and what might be the cause of your discomfort.
Your vagina feels heavier or bulges when you stand up.
The weight of your vagina is not an indicator of pelvic floor strength. The average vaginal weight is between 3 and 10 ounces. Factors such as age, childbirth, hormone levels, and sexual activity can affect the weight of your vagina. A study published in 2008 found that postmenopausal women had significantly less vaginal weight than premenopausal women.
A common way to test for pelvic floor muscle weakness is the “bulge when you stand up” test. To do this test, you contract your pelvic floor muscles and then stand up. If you feel a bulge in your vagina or anus, it may be a sign of muscle weakness. However, this test is not always accurate.
Factors such as obesity, constipation, pregnancy, and menopause can cause a bulge even if your pelvic floor muscles are strong.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to us at Kinesis Physical Therapy. They can perform a physical exam and determine if you have a weakened pelvic floor. Once a diagnosis is made, there are treatments available that can help improve your symptoms.
These treatments may include pelvic floor muscle exercises, electrical stimulation therapy, and/or Biofeedback therapy.
Still, Have Questions on Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
It’s hard to know if you have a weak pelvic floor, and even harder to know what to do about it.
Not only is it difficult to determine if you have a weak pelvic floor, but there are also few solutions available once a diagnosis is made.
Kinesis Physical Therapy offers a variety of treatments for those with a weakened pelvic floor and we’ll work with you to ensure you rebuild the strength in your core pelvic muscles. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact us today and we’ll help answer any questions you have!