The pelvic floor is the layer of muscle at the base of the pelvis. One in every four women has pelvic floor issues. A common cause of pelvic issues is carrying a heavy load during pregnancy, hours of laboring and pushing. Aging alone can contribute to pelvic floor problems. Most women I see with pelvic floor issues are over age 40 but more and more, younger women are talking about it. It’s not unusual for women to have the problem for a long time.
Incontinence is one of the most common complaints and can be related to giving birth. Even women who have never been pregnant or given birth can become incontinent. This may be related to the amount of sitting we are doing. Urinary incontinence can be termed ‘stress incontinence’ when coughing, sneezing, or exercise cause urine to leak out. ‘Urgency incontinence’ is when you need to go to the bathroom right away because the bladder contracts inappropriately and needs relaxation. Obesity is a risk factor for incontinence. Another problem is prolapse, which is when organs in the pelvis – such as the uterus or bladder droop or bulge out of place into the vagina.
Some women seek the help of a gynecologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, physical therapist or a colorectal specialist but few think of a chiropractor for a pelvic floor condition.
Current non-invasive treatments:
Strengthening the muscles in the pelvic floor can help.
Some doctors will recommend implanting a sling to support the urethra, the channel through which urine flows out.
Urgency incontinence may be helped by behavioral therapy, medications and/or natural phytonutrients. Some women have opted for botox injections to help relax an overactive bladder. This may last six to nine months and then recur.
I remember one of my first female patients when I was a student in the clinic had a ‘pessary’. These are still used today.
Soft tissue therapy and manipulation help the nerves that control bowel and bladder function.
If you have continued pain in the pelvis ask your chiropractor to help you figure out where it is coming from i.e. bladder, bowel, spinal misalignments, pelvic floor muscles or nerves.
You may consider Chiropractic to help muscle and bone problems, soft tissue therapy can help soften scar tissue, and a skilled practitioner will know how to help you strengthen pelvis floor muscles. Losing weight (in my office we use the ketogenic diet) is an important self care piece of the puzzle, along with exercises that strengthen the core and pelvis muscles, (Pilates type exercises are helpful) and, Peripheral Electro Magnetic Frequency (PEMF). PEMF helps stimulate pelvic floor muscles and can help decrease inflammation around nerves that may be irritated in the pelvic floor area.