Pelvic floor dysfunction affects many women, men, and children and can have a seriously detrimental effect on quality of life. Pelvic pain, prolapse, and urinary & bowel urgency/incontinence can result from too tight or too weak pelvic floor muscles, or some combination of the two.
Most of us have heard of Kegels: a muscle training technique that involves contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Many people will start doing Kegels when they are experiencing bladder or bowel incontinence. However, Kegels are only appropriate if the incontinence is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles.
But, what if your incontinence is the result of an overactive pelvic floor? Kegels would be exactly the opposite exercise you’d need. Imagine that you have a very tight biceps muscle and this tightness is causing some pain or discomfort. Doing repeated sets of biceps curls would only add to your discomfort. What you’d need is a stretching and lengthening of that muscle. Just like that biceps muscle, there are pelvic floor muscles that need lengthening if your incontinence is caused by an overly tight pelvic floor.
How can you tell if your symptoms are caused by weak or tight pelvic floor muscles? A proper assessment with someone trained in pelvic floor therapy is vital. Then an appropriate, comprehensive treatment plan can be put together to help improve your symptoms of incontinence.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation can help to decrease pain, relieve symptoms, and improve function and quality of life. Don’t delay. Reach out for help today. Better health may be just around the corner.
Dr Nicki Marksteiner is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, ON who focuses on all things pelvic in her practice, from pelvic floor rehabilitation to digestive health to women’s & men’s wellness. She currently works at Northstar Naturopathic Clinic at 804 Bloor St W. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org