Introducing The Female Pelvic Floor

Introducing The Female Pelvic Floor

I’m sure you’ve heard about your pelvic floor (PF), and if you’ve ever been pregnant, been told by your gynae to do kegels to “strengthen your pelvic floor”, but the reality is - many women just don’t have a good grasp of truly understanding what the PF is. 

 

And they don’t know why it’s important, and they don’t know how to actually strengthen it. 


Or, they think they’ve been doing PF exercises forever but are stumped when they find out that they have a PF issue. 


Me and My Floor

When I first started doing pilates before I ever got pregnant, the instructors that I had tried to get me to “connect my PF”. I sat in that group class, sitting down, and first of all , I had no idea where my “sit bones” were. 

 

And I was too shy and embarrassed to ask. Because all the other women there seemed to get it. Damned if I was going to stick my hand up and say “hello, can you please tell me what the heck this PF is????????”. 

 

So I sat there, like any good student, and shut up. And thought “am I really paying all this money for THIS?”. 

 

Over the course of years, I had many pilates instructors who all said things like “imagine you’re zipping up your jeans”. Or “imagine it’s an elevator”. 

 

And I thought I was doing it correctly. I really did. But I still wasn't entirely sure. 

 

Then, as Luke did, I learnt The Way. The CFWF Way. 

 

As faculty for The Center For Women’s Fitness (CFWF), under the tutelage of the amazing Carolyne Anthony, I learned how to properly engage and strengthen my PF, and more importantly - I was then able to teach other women how to do just this. 

 

So let’s unravel the enigma of the PF. 

What is the PF?

Did you know that men also have a pelvic floor? Yep - they do. But we’re just going to concentrate on the female anatomy and functions in this post. 


 

The PF actually consists of a variety of muscles that form slings. In particular, two slings. And these clings are connected mainly to the pubic bone, the coccyx, and the “sit bones”. 

 

The sit bones, (medical name ischial tuberosity) are at the bottom of the bony pelvis. 

 

These muscles wrap around the urethra, vagina and anus. (can you see how they have role to play in incontinence yet?). 

 

They also provide support for the organs within your body - notably your uterus (see the prolapse connection yet?). 

 

And, they also connect to your legs via another muscle called the obturator internus, and also via fascial (think of this as tissues in the body) connections, they connect to your abdominal muscles. 

 

So - your legs, and trunk, are connected to your PF. 

 

What about your arms? Everything is connected in one way or another! Your lats which attach to your humerus (upper arm bone) also attach to your spine, and to your deep core muscle. So when you engage your core muscles, which include your pelvic floor, this helps to support the movement that your arms do. Like lifting stuff like babies or heavy suitcases off the airport luggage carousel.

 

So your PF has a big responsibility in helping the other parts of your body, hold themselves together, and also to take the brunt of force when doing a movement (example doing a sit up or a squat).

 

You know that song, "the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone"…. Well, as I said - your whole body is a connected bunch of tissues. So an impact in one- affects something else. 

 

Still with me? 


But why so much hype on the Pelvic Floor?

Because we all have one but we aren’t strengthening it properly. And therefore there are repercussions throughout the rest of our body. 

 

And let’s face it - unless you have special knowledge of the anatomy of the pelvic floor, you will only be guessing a best approximation on how to engage it. 

 

That’s probably why so many women end up with PF dysfunctions. And we have kinda accepted it, thinking “oh I’m old, it’s to be expected, oh well”. 

 

But you don’t. 

 

And even if you don’t have the symptoms listed above, it’s still prudent to know how to engage and to keep your pelvic floor strong, and supple. 

 

And as the whole body is connected, when you have a PF that isn’t doing it’s job properly, this could affect you. The PF is known as one of your “core” muscles, and it has a significant job to do. 

 

So if you have a niggling issue and can’t quite pin point it to something specific - then go to a physiotherapist who is qualified to work with pelvic floors, and they’ll do an  ultrasound. That way you can tell if your PF is tickety boo or not. 

 

That’s the first step. 

 

But, you don’t have to visit a physio. I mean, you can just start to engage in exercises that can help work your PF. 


What to do Next?

It depends on the severity of your symptoms. 

 

A good place to start - see your OBGYN. Then they will advise next steps. But - bear in mind that you can still work with a certified women’s health trainer as long as your doctor signs off on that. Your doctor will likely suggest you see a specialist Physio. 

 

But regardless of your symptoms, your PF is a group of muscles that need to be strengthened. Just like your bicep, you need a strong bicep to carry things right? 

 

So that’s where a woman’s coach/trainer comes in. Check out https://thecenterforwomensfitness.com/ for a list of all their certified trainers across the world. (Oh yes, I'm Faculty member for CFWF too so I train all my clients to engage their PF).

 

Give it a go!

 

 

If you’d like to work with us virtually or in our studio in Singapore, then contact us here.

 

We specialise in diastasis recti, prolapse of the uterus, lower back pain, incontinence, pre/post natal, and women’s fitness including menopause and breast cancer.




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