We all expect that eventually our hair will turn gray, we’ll need readers to see anything in front of our face, and our skin will – ahem – “loosen” (to put it nicely). That’s just part of life.
But what we weren’t prepared for was some out-of-the-blue back pain, painful sex, and leaking every time we sneezed. But don’t book three different doctor’s appointments and become convinced you’re falling apart quite yet!
All of those seemingly different issues are likely stemming from one thing: a dysfunctional pelvic floor. The good news is, it can often be remedied with the right guidance and exercises.
We will forever be indebted to Evelyn Hecht, PT, a NYC-based Master Clinician of Pelvic Physical Therapy, who enlightened us on why these symptoms present physiologically and what you can do to reverse them.
The Pelvic What?!
When you laugh so hard (or cough or sneeze) and clench your muscles to prevent peeing your pants, that’s the pelvic floor you’re trying to contract/control.
So, What Even Is It?
The pelvic floor is a diamond-shape (how apropos) group of muscles that sits at the base of your pelvis where the bladder, rectum, and uterus come together – like a sling supporting those organs!
Why Does It Become An Issue?
Pregnancy, childbirth, excessive straining during bowel movements, and high levels of stress can all contribute to a dysfunctional pelvic floor, which can, in turn, cause all sorts of issues throughout the body (think incontinence, constipation, painful sex, and lower back pain to start).
It’s All Connected
The pelvic floor works directly with your deepest abdominal and lower spine muscles to stabilize your core – it’s the first thing to contract when you pick something up or go from sitting to standing. So if you suffer from chronic lower back pain, there’s a 95% chance the cause is pelvic floor dysfunction.
It’s In Tune With Your Emotions
The pelvic floor is a mirror of your mindset and how you’re feeling emotionally. If you’re stressed and anxious, the pelvic floor is high and tense, which can cause constipation, painful sex, GI dysfunction, and bladder pain.
You Can Count On It For Sexual Healing
A healthy pelvic floor can make for far more enjoyable sex. How? When those muscles are relaxed, it allows blood to flow to the genitals and helps with lubrication, making it easier to achieve a stronger orgasm.
It Can Be A Mind F*^&
While pelvic floor pain is often felt in the vaginal area, the actual cause can be blamed on your brain. If you’re under a lot of stress, your brain feels like it’s under threat, so it sends the pelvic floor pain signals to guard it even more. Crazy stuff.
Take Back Control
Due to the above, simple breathing techniques and quieting mind exercises can help move and relax the pelvic floor, which lowers the incoming danger signals, and eventually, decreases pain. It’s all about calming the nervous system. How’s that for the power of positive thinking?
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
Evelyn recently launched a pelvic healing at- home program that’s accessible completely online. The step-by-step regimen can be done on your own and in combination with pelvic floor therapy. You’ll also have access to a private Facebook support group and (with some programs) access to group or private Zooms with Evelyn to boost your healing journey.
Evelyn is offering Hazel readers a 10% discount to her Silver, Gold, or Platinum Pelvic Home Program with code PELVIC10. Valid through July 31, 2022.