Updated: Feb 14
“The number of American women with at least one pelvic floor disorder will increase from 28.1 million in 2010 to 43.8 million in 2050. During this time period, the number of women with UI will increase 55% from 18.3 million to 28.4 million. For fecal incontinence, the number of affected women will increase 59% from 10.6 to 16.8 million, and the number of women with POP will increase 46% from 3.3 to 4.9 million. The highest projections for 2050 estimate that 58.2 million women will have at least one pelvic floor disorder, with 41.3 million with UI, 25.3 million with fecal incontinence, and 9.2 million with POP.” Forecasting the prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in U.S According to the PubMed publication (click on the link above for a full version). These statistics are shocking to say the least! Are you shocked? Pelvic Floor Symptoms Incontinence (bladder leaking) is common but not normal. The good news is that the pelvic floor is a set of muscles just like shoulders and they can be restored! However, the most common approach that I hear from my female clients is doing Kegels. Kegels can be a great resource!
However, what I learned from one of the best Pelvic floor Physical Therapists, Dr. Sarah Duvall in my Core Exercise Solutions Course, changed my approach completely. Pelvic floor is a part of the system that is called a deep core inner unit. This system works optimally when all main team members work in coordination to balance pressure while sneezing, lifting, jumping, standing, and many other activities. When one of the team members is off, the system is off. The weakest part of the system is the pelvic floor muscles as well as abdominal muscles. The excess pressure has to release somewhere and usually it goes into the weakest links – pelvic floor or abdominal wall. When there is too much pressure builds up, we could experience bladder leaking or abdominal separation called Diastasis Recti. Prevention Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of cure. If you are in the preventative phase then take an opportunity to educate yourself about some solutions that are available and helpful.
Let me tell you a story that inspired me to dive into the core and pelvic floor health. This woman who was in her 50s came to see me for her back stiffness and discomfort. She was very active: doing yoga, pilates, playing tennis and golf and walking regularly. She was health conscious with good intentions for healthy food and lots of exercising. When we were talking, she sounded upset and frustrated because her good intentions and pursuit of “doing things right” did not turn out the way she expected. Her back was bothering her and recently she started experiencing uncontrollable bladder leaks. She could not play tennis or golf because she was embarrassed of her ooops moments. The worse part was not sleeping well at night because of the frequent trips to the bathroom. She was devastated! We needed to check in with her pelvic floor health.
This video encompasses my interview with Dr. Rachel Parotta who is specializing on pelvic floor issues. There is a lot of great information.
Get a cup of warm tea, relax and enjoy!
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The ABC Principles of Pelvic Floor Health I evaluated her for the key A.B.C. principles of a well-managed and well-functioning system that should be capable of managing pressure optimally especially for her activity levels.
A – Alignment – her hips were shifted forward and she was holding herself with a clenched butt. Pelvic floor is one and the same as the hips. Therefore, constantly clenched hips add unnecessary pressure and non-optimal glute recruitment. The clenched butt position is disconnecting the team members of the deep core inner unit – Diaphragm and pelvic floor.
B – Breath – her breath was all in her chest and shoulders without realizing that. When I asked her to take a deep breath, her chest and shoulders lifted and there was no breath movement downward. Your ability to breathe three-dimensionally is super essential for pressure management and optimal core activation.
C – Core – her one and only core strategy was sucking belly in towards the spine that was reinforcing her spinal flexion (rounding) in addition to her butt clenching (spinal flexion).
These A.B.C. principals are very important! They form a foundation for the deep core inner unit to work optimally and efficiently managing pressure from the base of the spine (pelvic floor) to the top of the spine (head). These principals are even more important during the physical activities that place higher demands on the deep core inner unit.
Restoring these three essential principals was our journey for a few months. In my client’s case, she did not have to wait too long for some positive results happening over the first month of our coaching. She was a diligent student doing her homework daily. Her leaking episodes were decreasing. She was able to sleep without any episodes for a few nights. As she was getting more and more comfortable implementing her foundational principles into everyday life activities and progressive exercise routines, she was getting more confident in her ability to control her pressure. After a few more months of our working together and re-building her strength, she slowly returned to playing tennis and golf.
Our body has an amazing ability to adapt! When we restore its ideal functioning, everything changes to the best.
Does it work like this with everyone? Everyone is unique!
Could that be some other underlying conditions leading to the pelvic floor issues? Yes, a lot! That is why I always recommend to see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist or/and medical provider.
Where are you on your journey? If you recognized these patterns in your system, then know that under the proper guidance, you can make changes and feel confident again at your roots! Even Though, there are down there and we do not see them, they are important players of the entire deep core inner unit that like to “play” together with other team members.
Because of the shocking statistics and a huge need for education on this “sensitive” topic, I have designed my comprehensive, whole-body online course that gives you all foundational steps from feet to head on how to restore the deep core inner unit. There are many tutorials, explanations, research references, interviews with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist and etc. Here is the link to my course if you are interested in “Do It Yourself Study”.
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