Whilst childbirth contributes to a lot of pelvic floor disorders and dysfunction, it’s not the sole cause of this problem.
There are many other factors that add to the variety of symptoms indicating there’s something not quite right “down there”.
I’ll explain a little further:
1. Pelvic floor weakness – frequent trips to the loo, rushing to get to the toilet, leaking urine when you sneeze, cough or do exercise, poor control of the bowel and bulging at the vaginal entrance are all signs of weakness of the pelvic floor
2. Pelvic floor tightness – straining to pass urine, constipation, haemorrhoids, passing small amounts of urine and pain with sexual penetration or insertion of tampons, all indicate a tightness in the muscles of the pelvic floor
3. Constipation – this damages the nerves supplying the pelvic floor muscles, which causes a loss of bladder and bowel control
4. Waist measurement – Women with a larger waist measurement are put at a higher risk of pelvic floor dysfunction. The more fat someone is carrying, the more the pelvic floor muscles have to work, due to the support of the weighted internal organs
5. Lifting – When you lift an object, a tremendous amount of pressure is created internally in the abdominals which overwhelms the pelvic floor muscles too
6. Pregnancy and Childbirth – The use of forceps or ventouse is associated with a higher rate of damage to the pelvic floor muscles. Studies show that pregnant women are at more risk of developing postnatal stress incontinence when they experience: a) urge incontinence before pregnancy, b) incontinence during pregnancy, c) a rapid birth, d) their baby’s birth weight is over 4kg, or e) their baby’s head is large.
7. Over challenging exercise – The endurance required for a long run, or a prolonged exercise session is considerably high. The damage occurs when the pelvic floor muscles become fatigues part way through a workout
8. Prolonged coughing – If you get a nasty cold where you’re coughing constantly, and your pelvic floor is weak, the repetitive pressure placed on these muscles is enough to cause a dysfunction. Pull up your pelvic floor using this technique here before coughing helps prevent urine loss or pelvic organ prolapse.
9. Weak connective tissue – This is down to genetics: if your mother experiences prolapsed, their daughters have a higher risk of a future prolapsed. And, mums with hypermobile joints are also at risk, so it’s vital that they focus on their pelvic floor and adopt protective habits, and discuss birthing options with their Midwife/Doctor.
10. Emotional reactions – When you’re stressed, you may unknowingly clench your jaw or grind your teeth. People with pelvic floor problems hold tension emotionally in their pelvic floor muscles. Excess tension causes bladder and bowel dysfunction.
And there you have it. The top 10 causes of pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you’ve identified with any of the problems listed above, it’s high time you did something about fixing the dysfunction, don’t you think? If you’d like a step-by-step guide to finding your pelvic floor, fixing it and feeling better about yourself in the process, click here to download a guide which walks you through the process, quickly and accurately.