Facts About Your Pelvic Floor That Aren’t Actually True
If you are a pregnant woman, you will probably hear a lot about your pelvic floor and the importance of keeping it strong, which is absolutely true. In fact, it’s not only relevant when you’re pregnant, it’s just affected by a baby growing inside you, which is understandable. The pelvic floor refers to the muscles inside your lower body which surround your reproductive system, as well as the bladder. It’s able to contract and relax which is important for controlling when you go to the bathroom, among other things. Exercises and stretches can help to ensure it isn’t weakened by pregnancy, but there is more to the story. Unfortunately there are lots of myths out there, so here are a few things you might have been told incorrectly.
Holding it in counts as an exercise
Trying to hold your bladder when you need to go to the bathroom puts pressure on your pelvic muscles, but it’s not a beneficial exercise. It confuses your muscles and doesn’t have a positive effect on strengthening them, so it’s best to avoid doing this entirely. The opposite is also a common myth – you can’t weaken your pelvic floor by holding it in either. If you’re concerned about controlling the urge to go to the toilet as your baby grows and squeezes your bladder, focus on proper pelvic exercises to maintain the balance.
Sex weakens your muscles in this area
There has long been talk of women being “loose” from having too much sex, but there is no evidence for this at all. In fact, it can serve as a great exercise for your pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor can’t get enough exercise
It is actually possible to over-do it and you can cause yourself pain later if you do too much to exercise your pelvic floor. Childbirth and sex can both be made more uncomfortable if you strain these muscles by overworking them during your exercise routine. This is unlikely in normal circumstances so it’s easy to avoid doing this if you’re sensible.
A strong core helps your pelvic muscles
If you have toned abs and core body muscles that’s great, but unfortunately it’s nothing to do with your pelvic floor. They each require completely different exercises and you will have to work on them separately to build up all your muscles equally. Don’t expect abdominal exercises to do anything for your pelvic area, despite what people might say.
Only older people suffer from incontinence
Going back to our first point, it’s important to bear in mind that messing with your bladder control system can lead to problems. You might also have issues naturally if you’re pregnant or happen to have a weakened pelvic floor already, but exercises can help with this if you select the right routine. It’s good to keep in mind that you shouldn’t be embarrassed by bladder control problems if you feel like you’re not old enough. Around a third of women under 50 and 15% of women under 25 have experienced issues before.