There are many preventive maintenance and corrective options pertaining to pelvic floor health. From simple Kegels to reconstructive surgery, this post will explore which course of action may be more suiting for your individual needs.
To recap, the uterus can lose its muscle tone when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments become weak and are no longer able to support her. Some factors that contribute to weakened pelvic floor muscles are:
- associated straining of chronic constipation
How do you know if your pelvic floor is weakened? Subtle signs from a little urine peeking its head out when you laugh, sneeze or cough to uterine prolapse.
To reduce the risk of weakened pelvic floor muscles and uterine prolapse, try the following:
Perform Kegel exercises regularly. These exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, especially important leading up to and after you have a baby.
Avoid weight gain. Easier said than done, right? Wrong mindset! You will be surprised how adjusting your viewpoint and speaking positive affirmations over yourself can help with eating habits. Consult with a nutritionist, herbalist, or doctor to determine your ideal weight and get advice on weight-loss strategies, if you need them. There are also support groups available to help with adjusting to a healthier lifestyle.
Treat and prevent constipation. Drink plenty of fluids (mainly water) and eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain cereals.
Avoid heavy lifting and lift correctly. When lifting, use your legs instead of your waist or back.
Control coughing. Get treatment for a chronic cough or bronchitis, and don't smoke.
Changes in your diet. Hydrate with water (helps to flush out toxins), consume foods high in magnesium (a vital mineral for proper muscle and nerve function), intake omega 3 fatty acids daily (decreases inflammation), eat foods low in acid which decreases irritation to the pelvic floor (such as bananas, avocados, peas and apples), increase levels of vitamin D (for skeletal muscle strength and function).
This next section covers pelvic floor therapy from the simplest step to the more extreme. There are options which help to prevent weakened pelvic floor muscles that also work to correct and rebuild them. We will categorize treatments into two groups, nonsurgical and surgical.
Kegels (also called Pelvic Floor Muscle Training-PFMT) help improve pelvic floor strength and the symptoms of uterine prolapse, however does not correct prolapse.
Estrogen therapy may be an option for women who have low levels as this can weaken pelvic floor muscles and lead to vaginal dryness.
Physical therapy involving biofeedback to strengthen specific muscles of the pelvic floor. Biofeedback uses monitoring devices with sensors that are placed in your vagina, rectum or on your skin, this technique teaches you how to use your own muscles to keep them strong.
If signs of prolapse is already surfacing, another nonsurgical option is pessaries. Pessaries are silicone devices that come in different shapes and sizes. They are inserted vaginally to hold the pelvic organs in place.
Worst case scenario of weakened pelvic floor muscles is prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, or rectum) become weak. This allows one or more of the pelvic organs to drop or press into or out of the vaginal opening. For prolapse, surgery involves repairing the prolapse organ(s) and building back pelvic floor support. There are different surgical approaches and strategies depending on the location of the prolapse, and also if you desire to have children in the future. Note, surgery only repairs the tissue bulge and not the underlying weakened muscles.
As with every Beloved Bellies blog post, the purpose is to raise awareness so we are not faced with the "worst case scenario" possibility. Most, if not all, conditions we encounter in our childbearing years and beyond, can be reversed and completely healed with the correct support, be it emotional, physical, and spiritual. Our bodies are self- healing and cleansing organisms that at times need a holistic reboot. Nothing is final until we loose hope. My prayer is that you will enter a new season hopeful and empowered, ready to take on another Womb Journey with me. Thank you for allowing me to walk with you! 💗