Before the birth of my daughter, running was my go to exercise; it would pump my body full of endorphins and help keep my anxiety in check. I honestly loved nothing more than being present in the moment; feeling my feet pounding along the pavement, as my heart beats faster and body temperature rises, and having such a great sense of achievement once completed. What I didn’t realise was that whist running was great for my mindfulness, without proper care and/or attention to my pelvic floor muscles it was exacerbate another problem by creating pelvic floor weakness.
So, what causes pelvic floor weakness?
The full causes of pelvic floor muscle weakness are still unknown, but problems can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, weakened or too tight. Some people have weak pelvic floor muscles from an early age, whilst others notice problems after certain stages in life such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause. Others experience weakness by being overweight or completing high intensity exercises and repeat heavy lifting. Even having a long-term cough and chronic constipation can cause pelvic floor muscle weakness, so it’s always worth getting checked out by your Doctor.
Whilst I don’t know the exact cause of my pelvic floor muscle weakness, I would attribute it to years of high intensity exercise, followed by a difficult childbirth. As a result, not only do I have an extremely weak pelvic floor, but it also resulted in the prolapse of both my bladder and bowel.
The good news is that pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened like any other weak or damaged muscles (although this does take time) by completing pelvic floor exercises daily, just ensure you are doing them correctly to prevent further damage, and you will see an improvement in incontinence and prolapse symptoms, as I have done.