More about the pelvic floor

by Kate Krantz, PT, COMT

As a physical therapist, I regularly ask about bowel and bladder changes during my patient interviews for low back pain.  It was eye opening to me 10 years ago when I was made aware of the connections the muscular components of the bowel and bladder have with the low back.

The pelvic floor is what we call the muscles that suspend the bowel and bladder.  They are a series of diamond shaped muscles that form the “basement” of our trunk and contain the sphincters that control the bowel and bladder.  Leaking or incontinence indicates problems with control of the pelvic floor muscles, therefore poorly supporting the pelvis and spine.  Many forces act on these muscles through our lifetime including child bearing and birth, abdominal surgeries such as hysterectomies and C-sections, vigorous exercise like running, and being overweight.  With these processes, the pelvic floor muscles can get lax or weakened.

Walking is shown to improve control over the pelvic floor, and it is recommended that we walk 30 min a day to keep these muscles functioning correctly.  Keeping our bodies at a healthy weight is key to decreasing the load these muscles are under and to keep the pelvis in good position for proper suspension of the pelvic floor.  If you have been having issues with leaking or incontinence, you do not have to accept this as “normal”.  Sometimes you may need more than regular exercise and weight control.  Be aware that there are specific evaluation techniques and treatment techniques to help regain control over these muscles and can stop the leaking and improve or even stop incontinence.

Agnesian Healthcare has physical therapists trained in this area; you would just need to get a prescription from your physician and contact Sports, Spine and Work Center at St. Agnes Hospital at 920-926-5370.

About Agnesian HealthCare Womens Health

Addressing the physical, emotional and educational needs of women, Agnesian HealthCare's Women's Health Services offers the resources that apply to your life, in all its wonderful complexity. With a Health Resource Center, Obstetric Services, a Domestic Violence Program, Behavioral Health Services and programs serving women in mid-life, a number of options are available in the Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun areas.

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