If you’re suffering with pelvic floor issues you might like to know what is causing your pelvic floor problem.
When did you first notice it? Do you have an idea of what the cause is? I think it’s easy to blame a particular event like child birth or menopause. But if we want to understand what is causing your pelvic floor problem then you’ll need to look at your whole life.
How have you moved or not moved your body over your whole life? You might be suprised to know that some types of clothing can make your symptoms worse.
In this blog post I’m sharing 5 possible things that make pelvic floor problems worse.
My aim is to give a some areas to think about, think about your own daily habits and maybe start to understand what is causing your pelvic floor problem.
Number 1: Sitting down too much
Coming in at number 1 has to be sitting down too much. It’s number 1 probably because it’s our number 1 activity so we need to address this first.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening with the body when we’re seated. So just to be clear, I’m talking about sitting in a chair, sofa or car seat. When we sit our hips are in permanent flexion (thighs in a 90 degree angle to the body), our pelvis will probably be tucked under if we’re leaning against a chair which then means we’re not using our own body’s muscles to hold ourselves up.
What happens? We lose muscle tone and function. Our glutes (bottom muscles) get saggy and find it hard to switch on and our hips are permanently tight. Tight hips make it difficult for the pelvis to sit in a neutral position which makes it difficult for the pelvic floor to work. Boom!
Number 2: The shoes you wear
So, I’m assuming you might have now stood up if you were previously sitting in a chair. Take a look at your feet. Are you wearing shoes right now? If you are take one shoe off and place it next to your foot. Are they the same shape. Is your shoes as wide as you foot or are you squeezing your foot into a shoe-shaped (rather than foot shaped) shoe. Maybe your foot is more of shoe shape already! Do have bunions? Is your big toe curved around almost to a point like your shoes?
My point here is that most modern day shoes are not the right shape for our feet. Our feet are designed to spread wide and be able to move fully when we walk. Modern shoes do not allow for the full range of movement we need. Plus, we’ve also been brainwashed into believing we need to support our feet with insoles and special trainers. I’m telling you now…we do not. Or at least we might do because our feet have been rendered incapable of working properly due to the years of wearing incorrect shoes. Originally when we were children our feet were wide and worked really well.
So now we’ve addressed shoes, I’ll tell you why this is important to your pelvic floor. It’s quite simple really. Your feet are your foundation. If your feet are working well then your legs muscles will work. When your leg muscles work your glutes will engage nicely and then your pelvis will be able to achieve a neutral position and your pelvic floor will work. Everything good starts with good foot health.
Number 3: Your skinny jeans
You might find this next one difficult to read. I’m sorry there is no helpline at the end of this article if you’ve been bothered by any of the information here.
I’m afraid to say that if you regularly wear tight jeans, trousers or skirts that are digging into your waist then you aren’t helping your poor pelvic floor. Basically you are adding internal pressure to your organs which are either going to be forced upwards (hernia) or downwards putting pressure onto to your pelvic floor muscles.
Another problem with wearing tight jeans is that they restrict your body’s ability to move freely. Your hips are likely to struggle to remain in a neutral position and then your pelvic floor can’t work. How about that? Still going to wear your tight jeans?
Number 4: Your bra
So if you’re following along you might have stood up from your chair, taken off your shoes and maybe even your tight jeans. Perhaps make sure you put some comfy joggers on before you continue. This isn’t a striptease!!!!
If you wear a wired bra this could be making your pelvic floor symptoms worse. If it’s so tight that at the end of the day you can’t wait to take it off it might be time to rethink your underwear (not right now though, keep reading)
Your wired bra is restricting your ribcage from expanding when you breathe in. When you breathe in your pelvic floor will automatically relax. Your pelvic floor needs to relax so that it doesn’t get too tired and is ready when you need it most. If you can’t get a full breath into your body you might have a very tired and overactive pelvic floor. What happens when you next jump or cough? Your pelvic floor is so tired from being active all day that it may well not work. So there you go.
Number 5: Tight hamstrings
So by now you might be wishing you’d not read this because you’re going to have to rethink your whole wardrobe. Well, you’ll be pleased to know this one doesn’t involve clothing.
Our bodies are beautifully connect and everything works together not in isolation. You probably know this already when you pick up something with your arm you might feel a twinge in your back.
So our pelvis needs to be a neutral position for the pelvic floor muscle to work. Tight hamstrings can pull down on the glutes and cause the pelvis to tuck under.
All of our muscles need to be at the optimum length and strength in order for our whole body to work properly. That includes our pelvic floor muscles which don’t work in isolation either
We’re generally led to believe that all we need to do is strengthen our pelvic floor and everything will stay in place and never leak.
Unfortunately that is a big fat lie. Sorry. But I feel strongly about this.
Your pelvic floor needs you to look after all of your body so that it can do it’s amazing job.
If you want to learn more about pelvic floor health sign up to my no nonsense guide to pelvic floor health: How to stop weeing when you sneeze