Here’s the scenario… you have injured your knee. It is painful and has been an issue for a long time. Bending down, climbing stairs and having to lift heavy loads are things that you avoid. You finally decide to see a physiotherapist, who recommends some simple exercises to be performed every day and ways to bend down / climb stairs / lift heavy loads that will not exacerbate the knee, whilst it is in recovery. It is good advice and you notice that as long as you follow the recommendations, your knee starts to feel better and heal.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be viewed in the same way. Often we try to ignore the symptoms and issues because we want to exercise like we always have, but the challenge is that it can’t improve when we insist on doing things that cause it to dysfunction.
Logic dictates that if part of us is injured, that we need to address the issue and focus on the healing until we are good to go, but often this is ignored when it comes to the pelvic floor. Staying fit and healthy and keeping the pelvic floor safe during activities is possible, it just means that alternative exercises are preferable and with a great trainer/pelvic floor specialist like a women’s health physiotherapist, these modified exercises can be fun and a great way to stay active.
It comes down to priorities. High intensity, high load exercise with constant leaking, versus modified intensity with different exercises that protect and improve the function of the pelvic floor to eliminate discomfort and embarrassment. For some women, this may only be required for a short time until function is restored, so that they can return to previous exercise regimes. For others, it could be a slower and perhaps more long term adjustment.
In some cases, the perception can be that the pelvic floor safe options are ‘boring’, but that is about how the exercises are viewed. First things first! Pelvic floor does come first, especially as one of its roles is to support the internal organs and respond as part of the core muscles supporting the spine. Compromising the pelvic floor, is like a compromised knee, it is hard to function in every life, let alone trying to exercise with good form and technique.
Exercise is a way to improve fitness, health and wellbeing. When your pelvic floor is fully functional and responding appropriately, then life can be fully enjoyed.