It is easy to take the human body for granted. People assume that because every body part functions correctly today, it will keep performing tomorrow, but that is not always the case. The body is a delicate and intricate biological machine, and as with any piece of machinery, it requires maintenance and upkeep.
In recent years, people have been discussing the importance of maintaining strength in the pelvic floor. The term references the muscles in the lower abdomen and is interconnected with the pelvis and sexual organs. This article will discuss the importance of these muscles, potential risks and the doctors specializing in the pelvic floor.
The Significance of the Pelvic Floor
While it is referred to as the pelvic floor, the muscles making up this area resemble more of a hammock or bowl than a floor. These muscles work in tandem with the deep abdominal, back and diaphragm muscles to support and stabilize your spine. This muscle group is also essential to bowel function, urination, sexual function, pregnancy and delivery, and physical function.
Unfortunately, because of the area of these muscles and the sensitivity against public discussion, many people suffer from symptoms of pelvic floor failure for years, believing that there is nothing that can be done. Some people even feel that a weakened pelvic floor is a natural part of aging, but that is not entirely accurate, and there are exercises you can perform to strengthen this muscle group.
Identifying the Pelvic Floor
A fundamental exercise for strengthening the pelvic floor is the Kegel exercise, which requires the squeezing of the pelvic floor muscles. However, to perform the exercise, you need to identify the muscles and feel the contraction.
Locating the pelvic floor muscles is easy but should be done in private because it requires places one or two fingers in the vagina and squeezing around them. After the initial exercise, you will no longer need your fingers because you can perform the exercise through feeling alone.
The feeling is often described as the sensation of lifting the pelvic floor up and in. Think of the feeling like you are trying to pull something up, but do not hold your breath and avoid tensing surrounding muscles, like the buttocks or abdomen.
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Pelvic Floor Failure
A weakened pelvic floor can lead to significant problems, like leakage from the anus or uncontrolled urination. You may also experience frequent and hurried trips to the bathroom. Some symptoms will improve on their own, but others may not. If you are experiencing difficulty that is affecting your life, go to a doctor.
A healthy diet and an active lifestyle will reduce the risk of pelvic floor failure. Even a modest amount of weight loss, 5% to 10%, can significantly reduce the risk of pelvic floor failure in those overweight.
Pelvic Floor Specialists
If you are experiencing problems associated with your pelvic floor, then you should see a specialist. A urogynecologist is a specialist in female pelvic floor problems. Men can schedule an appointment with their urologist.
People tend to ignore their bodies, taking them for granted, but the pelvic floor is a crucial component of bodily functions and shouldn't be overlooked. If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more, keep reading the Smarter Science of Slim.