By Emily Tran, PHRC Westlake Village
When it comes to overall health, there is one area that is often overlooked or under-discussed: pelvic health. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the importance of taking care of their pelvic floor muscles, and they pay little attention to the myriad of issues that can arise from poor pelvic health. To help raise awareness and dispel misconceptions, here’s what people typically think when they hear the phrase “pelvic health” — and the truth behind them.
Misconception One: Pelvic health only affects women.
Truth: Men can suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction just as much as women can. Poor posture, weight gain, injury or chronic illnesses can affect men’s pelvic floor muscles in ways similar to those suffered by female patients.
Misconception Two: Pelvic health only matters after giving birth.
Truth: While pregnancy or childbirth is certainly a major contributing factor for weakened pelvic muscles, it’s important to note that any kind of physical trauma or surgery can also impact how strong your pelvic floor muscles are. Poor posture and lack of exercise can lead to weaker core and hip muscles which contribute to an overall weakening in the area. So even if you have never given birth before (or plan on doing so), it is still important to know how you should take care of your own individual needs when it comes to your body’s most intimate areas.
Misconception Three: Incontinence is something that only happens with age.
Truth: Not necessarily! For both men and women who do not suffer from any major medical conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, urinary incontinence often occurs due to weak pelvic floor muscles which don’t provide adequate support for bladder control. The good news is that all adult individuals — regardless of age — can benefit from simple exercises designed specifically for strengthening this area; these exercises are easy enough for anyone, but may require a doctor or physical therapist’s guidance if needed in order to ensure safety and progress towards better muscular strength over time.
Misconception Four: Pelvic health issues only affect older people.
Truth: Although age can be a factor in the development of pelvic health issues, it is not the only factor. Poor lifestyle choices and underlying medical conditions that weaken the muscles around the hip and core area, as well as any kind of physical trauma or surgery, can also lead to weakened pelvic floor muscles for people of all ages.
Misconception Five: People don’t need to worry about their pelvic health until they experience symptoms.
Truth: It is important for everyone – regardless of gender – to pay attention to their overall body condition in order to prevent any further damage down the line due to prolonged muscle weakness or other conditions unrelated to aging such as an underlying medical issue or lifestyle choices (diet, exercise etc). There are easy exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that anyone can do, but if needed, it is best to seek out professional help from doctors or physical therapists knowledgeable in this field.
Misconceptions Six: Pelvic floor weakness is the only dysfunction people can experience.
Truth: The pelvic floor muscles can also become too tight which can cause unwanted symptoms. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight can contribute to urinary, bowel, and sexual dysfunction and/or pelvic pain. If the pelvic floor muscles are too tight, strengthening exercises, like Kegels, are not appropriate. It is important to see a pelvic floor specialist to determine what exercises and treatment are appropriate for your specific needs.
In addition to seeking professional assistance when necessary through doctors or physical therapists knowledgeable in this field, regular self-care activities and preventive measures (like wearing protective wear during sports) can go a long way towards helping maintain good pelvic health over time!
We are excited to announce Molly will be helping PHRC open their 11th location in Columbus, OH in September of 2023. Join the waitlist and be the first to be contacted!
Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!
Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.
Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page.
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