The pelvic floor is a set of muscles and ligaments located in the lower part of the abdominal cavity, the pelvis.
Its function is to support the viscera of the abdomen and pelvis (bladder and urethra, uterus, vagina and rectum). It supports the digestive, urinary (responsible for controlling urinary and anal continence), and reproductive systems.
The deep muscles that form the walls that support our trunk form the core system, together with the abdominal girdle (transverse, internal and external obliques, rectums), the diaphragm, and the lumbar muscles.
Despite it being an essential musculature of our body, we do not always take care of it.
Lack of correct muscle tone in the area can lead to different problems such as urinary incontinence, prolapse or sexual dysfunctions in women, and back pain.
How is the pelvic floor weakened?
This area so forgotten, and for many women even unknown, weakens due to lack of exercise, being overweight, from pregnancy and childbirth. Even bad breath, constipation, chronic coughing, impact sports, carrying a weight or adopting incorrect postures can reduce the strength of the pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor and menopause
As we already know, over the years connective tissue loses tone, elasticity and firmness. This occurs in addition to important hormonal changes that affect many aspects of health. Knowing the changes that occur in the body and understanding them is essential to achieve greater well-being in adulthood.
The loss of collagen, elasticity in the ligaments, and muscle mass at this stage also weakens the pelvic floor.
With the onset of menopause, all this worsens, producing atrophy (which means lack of use), and with it lack of nutrition, blood supply, and vaginal dryness.
Pelvic floor dysfunctions in menopause also affect quality of life, social and family relationships.
The importance of caring for the pelvic floor
It is extremely important to strengthen and tone the muscles of the pelvic floor and core from an early age. This will help improve your functions and prevent future alterations.
Around 50 years of age, a woman should pay special attention to the care and prevention of her pelvic floor disorders.
This is where pelvic floor exercise come in! These will avoid health problems and also improve the quality of your sex life.
Some of the actions we can take are observation and the practice of yoga. Yoga helps self-knowledge of the physical body as well as breathing. Breathing is essential in all exercises, since if we are unconsciously holding our breath while activating pelvic floor muscles, we will be generating an increase in abdominal pressure downwards, causing tissue distension.
Also useful are: hypopressive abdominal gymnastics, kegel exercises, electrostimulation, specific exercises with biofeedback, using balls or vaginal cones, etc. A pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist can guide you through all of this.
The pelvic floor and sexual intercourse.
Although many women do not pay due attention to it, specialists emphasize that dysfunctions of the pelvic floor can negatively influence quality of life and sex, causing a decrease or absence of sensitivity, painful sensations during intercourse or the absence of orgasms, among other things. Let’s not forget that the muscles in this area give tone to the entrance of the vagina and contract in orgasms, so a serious weakening can make it more difficult to reach climax.
As we have already explained, fortunately, the state of the pelvic floor can be improved with actions and care.
The fact of being a woman or getting older does not have to be a reason for urinary incontinence or discomfort in the pelvic area. We must be able to fully enjoy any stage of our lives.
Yoga for a Core and a Firm Ground
Performing yoga is highly recommended because it is a gentle physical activity, without impact, that uses attention and observation. It develops interoception and proprioception which build a good physical consciousness and mind-body connection.
Yoga practice can be approached from postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and energy closings (bandhas). The Mulabandha is especially beneficial for the recovery of these muscles. All this naturally awakens the consciousness of the whole body and helps us to perceive the state of our pelvic floor.
Yoga, apart from giving us relaxation and vitality, strengthens the abdominal and pelvic floor tissue. It helps both physically and psychologically and is beneficial at any age.
Some simple Asanas to exercise the pelvic floor are: sitting, as for example in Sukasana. Lying down, for example, Setubhandasana and later when you acquire greater mastery, you can do inverted positions such as Sarvangasana, and standing and moving.
All the postures accompanied by good and conscious breathing are beneficial and bring good results.
Women must become aware and take good care of our pelvic floor. The key to care is in prevention at an early age and during adulthood, even if the symptoms are not felt, to reach a healthy menopause and minimize some of its unwanted effects. Prevention is vital.
Tips for caring for the pelvic floor during menopause:
- Get specialized pelvic physiotherapy evaluations.
- Go to a professional yoga teacher or an expert pelvic floor physiotherapist to find out how to train these muscles.
- Maintain good posture. (A stooped posture increases pressure on the abdomen and this damages the pelvic floor.)
- Be patient. You need to be disciplined and repeat several times a week so that you can see the benefits.
Observe, breathe — you can read another of my articles on this page that talks about breathing — love your body and always treat it with kindness. Accept it as it is at all times and take care of it.
Body Health. Lifestyle. Menopause. Menopause & Sex Life. Yoga Women’s Health.