What is the pelvic floor?
The Pelvic Floor is the muscles that surround the genitals and anus to hold the pelvic organs in place and rhythmically tighten during orgasm. You can notice the pelvic floor muscles most when you squeeze to keep yourself from urinating.
This muscle is important to both women and men.
Although we often hear conversations around the as related to women, it is wise to take notice of the importance of men as well. According to WebMD, one out of 4 women has a pelvic floor disorder. The first can be incontinence, Urinary or fecal. Most of us have heard of urinary incontinence. You may for example sneeze and experience urine leaks. But, a weak pelvic floor can also cause fecal incontinence in both men, women, and children.
Incontinence is very common. Let’s get past the embarrassment and talk about it!
According to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR CONTINENCE, over 25 million people in the USA live with bladder leakage or bowel control issues. “We’re not afraid to talk about our bodies or their functions. When something abnormal happens, we should all feel comfortable in discussing it. There is no shame in being human. So it’s time we get past the embarrassment and get on with gaining control.” (NAFC)
Three Most Common Conditions of this Dysfunction
• urinary incontinence
• anal incontinence
• pelvic organ prolapse
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) occurs because of weak pelvic floor muscles and/or a deficient urethral sphincter. This weakness can cause the bladder to leak during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement that puts pressure on the bladder. SUI often shows up after childbirth and menopause in women while prostate cancer treatment, such as radical prostatectomy, can trigger it in men.(NAFC) To learn more about how SUI can affect men and women differently, visit these links: Male Stress Urinary Incontinence and Female Stress Urinary Incontinence.
Anal incontinence and Pelvic organ prolapse. (National Association For Continence)
Pelvic floor strength is critical to digestive (bowel) health for both women and men. Here’s how a poorly functioning pelvic floor can create a situation for ABL(accidental Bowel Leakage):
- Impairs the ability to sense stool in the rectum
- Decreases the ability to contract muscles used during a bowel movement
- Rectal prolapse causes the rectum to drop down through the anus—this can lead to stretching of the anus muscles, stretching of the pelvic floor nerves, and mucous discharge from the prolapse segment
- Rectocele causes the rectum to protrude through the vagina
- Causes the pelvic floor to become weak and sag
Both Men & Women should exercise to keep the Pelvic muscle strong.
For women! Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, and bowel. You can do Kegel exercises discreetly just about anytime, whether you’re
driving in your car, sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch. You can also use a kegel toy to help strengthen the muscle.
For men! According to a study conducted by the University of Bristol, a strong pelvic floor overcomes erectile dysfunction. The same study showed that a regular program of pelvic floor exercise achieves the same success rate as Viagra. Viagra is associated with damage to the eyes and vision in a significant number of men using it, but exercises are safe for everyone.
- Exercising this muscle can “increase awareness of sexual sensations and enhance enjoyment” (Impotence Association, UK)
- Research has shown that pelvic floor strengthening can improve sexual function and overcome urinary
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