Stay on top of your pelvic health with these expert tips

Your pelvic health is critical and must be taken care of, just like other parts of your body. Get some tips right here.

kegel exercises
Pay attention to your pelvic floor muscles. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Chanda Balaji Published on: 18 February 2022, 15:01 pm IST
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Are you aware of the importance of your pelvic health? Before you answer this question, ask yourself if you know what pelvic muscles are and where they are located.

The pelvis is located between the abdomen and legs. Between the bony parts, the pelvic floor constitutes muscles and tissues. It supports several functions in the body like urination, bowel movements, pregnancy, sex, childbirth, etc. it also holds the reproductive parts, intestines, and urinary bladder in place.

Why is pelvic health important?

Your pelvic floor works continuously to perform several important functions. To keep it healthy and strong, you need to maintain pelvic health. That’s because a weak pelvic floor can cause several issues. Weak muscles can lead to urinary leakage, bowel leakage, sexual problems, and even pelvic organ prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a serious condition, in which organs like the uterus, and bladder can drop due to weak muscles, causing pressure in the vagina. Therefore, if your pelvic floor muscles are weak or too loose, your internal organs will not get the required support. It will also lead to issues, like urinary incontinence, or bowel movement problems.

How do pelvic muscles get weak?

Any activity which puts pressure on the pelvic floor weakens its muscles. Some of the common causes of a weakened pelvic floor are:

* Pregnancy
* Childbirth
* Chronic cough
* Chronic constipation
* Constant training due to constipation
* Obesity
* Prostate cancer treatment in men

Not only women, but men too face problems related to the pelvic floor. Men can also develop pelvic floor issues due to trauma, pelvic surgery, infections, neurological diseases, and radiation treatment of prostate cancer.

pelvic health issues
Don’t ignore signs of pelvic health issues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction

* Urine leakage while coughing, sneezing, or laughing (or urinary incontinence)
* Heaviness in vagina
* Falling out of tampons
* Failing to reach the bathroom on time
* Issues in bowel movement
* Pain during sex
* Inability to get an orgasm
* Vulval pain
* Recurrent urinary tract infections or UTIs

Tips to maintain pelvic health

It is easier to take care of your pelvic health than face the consequences later in life. There are pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises, specially designed to strengthen pelvic muscles. Kegels can improve your muscle tone and relax your pelvic floor muscles. But make sure you keep the following in mind:

* To do these exercises, you need to be sure of your pelvic muscles. Familiarize yourself with these muscles to contract and relax them anytime.
* Identifying the right muscles can be difficult, especially if the pelvic floor is weak. * You can approach a physiotherapist who can guide you on the right way to do these exercises.
* You will notice substantial improvement within a few weeks if you suffer from any pelvic floor-related problems.
* Apart from doing exercises as a part of the daily routine, it is important to eat the right food. Some dietary changes can improve health problems like constipation.
* Also, smooth bowel consistency will avoid any pain or bowel leakages.

Also read: Beware of uterine prolapse post childbirth. Here’s how to prevent it

kegel exercise for pelvic health
Kegel exercises can do wonders to strengthen your pelvic health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are a few other tips which you can follow to avoid chronic issues:

* Take an ample amount of fluids and fibre in your daily diet.
* Do not strain or push too much during bowel movements.
* Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
* Maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
* Avoid heavy lifting, which can lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
* Relax pelvic muscles by doing yoga and taking hot baths.

Also Read: Struggling with chronic lower abdominal pain? You could be a victim of pelvic congestion syndrome

When should you see a doctor for pelvic health?

Instead of compromising the quality of your life due to a weakened pelvic floor, you should consult a doctor whenever you notice painful symptoms in the region. It is important for people at higher risk of developing pelvic floor issues to maintain good pelvic floor health.

Many people hesitate in seeking medical advice for problems related to pelvic health, as it can get “too embarrassing” to talk about the issue. But there is nothing wrong with knowing about treatment options to improve the quality of life and daily functioning of the body.

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About the Author
Dr Chanda Balaji Dr Chanda Balaji

Dr Chanda Balaji, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Chennai

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