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How Pelvic Floor Muscles Get Weak and What You Can Do About It


patient performing exercises to improve pelvic floor weakness

As we age, we will notice certain changes in our body that we cannot control. And one of the areas that are affected is our pelvic muscles which can weaken over time. A weak pelvic floor muscle can result in discomfort, pain, and embarrassment. In this article, we will explain how pelvic floor muscles get weak and what you can do to prevent it from happening.


Pregnancy and childbirth

Women who have undergone vaginal delivery are more likely to suffer from weak pelvic floor muscles. The pressure placed on the pelvic area during pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the muscles, leading to bladder and bowel incontinence. However, kegel exercises, which involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, can help to improve pelvic tone and prevent incontinence


Menopause

During menopause, there is a decrease in the production of estrogen, which can lead to vaginal atrophy. This condition causes the muscles around the vagina to weaken, resulting in urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, and overall discomfort. Women can do certain exercises like kegels, pelvic tilts, and deep squats to help prevent or alleviate pelvic floor issues.


Chronic Constipation

Straining during bowel movements can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time. Chronic constipation or any other conditions that lead to frequent straining can damage the muscles, causing them to weaken. To avoid this, drink plenty of water and eat lots of fiber. Also, avoid sitting on the toilet for too long, as this can lead to straining.


Being overweight

The extra weight that comes with being overweight can put added pressure on the pelvic area, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. It is advisable to engage in regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet to keep your pelvic floor muscles in good shape.


Aging

As we age, all muscles in our body, including the pelvic floor muscles, can weaken. Additionally, inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle can lead to decreased muscle tone. Physical therapy can help individuals maintain or regain pelvic floor strength.


What pelvic floor exercises can i do?


bridge exercise for core strength to improve pelvic floor strength

  1. Pelvic floor exercises: Kegel exercises are the most common method to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They involve contracting and relaxing the muscles that control the flow of urine, supporting the bladder, uterus, and rectum.

  2. Biofeedback therapy: This technique uses sensors to monitor the pelvic floor muscles, helping you better understand how to engage and relax them properly. A trained therapist guides you through exercises while providing real-time feedback on your performance.

  3. Electrical stimulation: A gentle electrical current is used to stimulate and contract the pelvic floor muscles, helping to strengthen them over time. This treatment is typically performed by a physical therapist or medical professional.

  4. Pilates and yoga: Both Pilates and yoga incorporate movements and postures that target the core and pelvic floor muscles, promoting strength and stability in these areas.

  5. Physical therapy: A trained physical therapist can create a personalized program to address pelvic floor weakness, incorporating targeted exercises and techniques to improve muscle control, coordination, and strength.

  6. Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heavy lifting, and addressing chronic constipation can help reduce stress on the pelvic floor and prevent further weakening.

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist to determine the best course of action for your specific needs. They can guide you through the appropriate exercises and treatments to effectively address pelvic floor weakness and improve your overall quality of life.


In conclusion, there are several factors that can lead to weak pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, menopause, chronic constipation, being overweight, and aging. However, the good news is that there is something you can do about it. Kegel exercises, deep squats, pelvic tilts, and other pelvic floor exercises can help to prevent and alleviate pelvic floor issues. Additionally, keeping a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, can improve your overall muscle tone. Finally, don't hesitate to speak with a healthcare professional if you notice any issues with your pelvic floor. They can offer advice, prescribe treatment, or suggest exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

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