Awareness of Your Pelvic Bowl
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
THE PELVIC BOWL
Much focus is placed on the PELVIC FLOOR to treat pelvic floor dysfunction. Yet the anatomical structures of the pelvis act more like a bowl. The pelvic bowl is made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves, organs, blood and lymph vessels. The bottom of the bowl, prevents the pelvic organs from falling out. The 3 levator ani muscles contribute to the anatomic pelvic floor musculature.
- Pubococcygeus muscle
- Puborectalis muscle
- Iliococcygeus muscle
If we correct any pelvic bowl dysfunctions by treating only the 3 pelvic floor muscles we are only treating a symptom and not the cause.
WHY IS THE PELVIC BOWL IMPORTANT FOR CORRECTING OUR POSTURE?
The pelvic bowl is responsible for supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs. The pelvic bowl works independently and dependently with all our muscles groups through the entire body. When the pelvic bowl is weak, then it cannot support our organs or the our structure above and below the pelvis.
COMMON PELVIC BOWL POSTURAL ALIGNMENTS THAT CAUSE DYSFUNCTION
- An anterior tilt of the pelvis is a common cause for a weak pelvic bowl.
- A posterior tuck is responsible for a tensed, overly strong pelvic bowl.
Both unbalanced postures create unhealthy support systems. Awareness of how to activate and relax the pelvic bowl is necessary for balancing strength and support for your back body and all our organs responsible for:
- Regulating you stress response system
THE KEGEL EXERCISE & WHY IT IS INSUFFICIENT:
Kegel exercises are named after their founder, Dr. Arnold Kegel. Dr. Kegel developed these exercises for MEN, yes, MEN. The kegels are designed to contract the ischiocavernosus, bulbospongiosus, and cremaster muscles in MEN to help control premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Ladies, you do NOT have a cremaster muscle. When the Kegel exercise was adopted (NOT ADAPTED) for women, many healthcare practitioners did not take into account the difference in musculature between males and females. It was not understood that both men and women have many muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue, aka fascia, residing inside the pelvic bowl that support and influence its function.
QUICK ANATOMY LESSON:
Here are both the anterior and posterior views of an ambiguous pelvic bowl that supports our organs. I say ambiguous because some muscles share the same name but have different functions in males and females.
Adding back the fascia, tendons, ligaments, musculature, blood vessels, nerves and lymph. We can really see how complex and interconnected the pelvic bowl
The fascia of the musculature runs directly into the fascia of the pelvic floor with 1 particular ligament connecting all the pelvic organs together called the pubo-vesico-genito-recto- coccygeal ligament aka the maxi pad ligament.
It connects our pubic bone to the bladder to the uterus/prostate to the rectum to our tailbone!
THE CAUSES OF PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION
STRETCHED PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES
- Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken or stretch some of the supporting structures in the pelvis.
- Being overweight/obese with a (BMI) over 25. Calculate your BMI here.
- A chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, smoking or hay fever.
- POOR POSTURE IS THE MOST COMMON COMPOUNDING FACTOR!
WEAKENED PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Injury to the pelvic region including a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy.
- Hysterectomy can weaken the structures in the pelvis.
- Not keeping the pelvic floor muscles active (POOR POSTURE) or overworking them (POOR POSTURE).
- A history of back pain (POOR POSTURE).
- POOR POSTURE
- Medical Conditions that may contribute include accumulation of fluid within the abdomen (ascites, which puts pressure on pelvic organs), disorders of nerves to the pelvic floor, tumors, and connective tissue disorders. Some men and women have birth defects that affect this area or are born with weak pelvic muscles.
- Physical or sexual abuse: Men and women who have experience with abuse or violent partners often have multiple psychosocial problems, physical pain, depression, insecurities. All of which are intertwining in causation and results in chronic manifestation in pain, inflammation, and weakness.
TIGHT PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES
- Chronic constipation and straining to empty the bowels (CAN BE FROM POOR POSTURE and weak abdominal muscles).
- Heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym) (POOR POSTURE)
- POOR POSTURE
- Physical or sexual abuse: Men and women who had problems with abuse or violent partners often have multiple psychosocial problems, physical pain, depression, insecurities, all of which are intertwining in causation and results in chronic manifestation in pain, inflammation, and weakness.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PELVIC FLOOR WEAKNESS
- Accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze.
- Needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time.
- Constantly needing to urinate.
- Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel.
- Accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel.
- Accidentally passing wind.
- Feeling a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping.
- In men and women, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to have a bowel movement.
- Pain in your pelvic area including the vagina and/or rectum.
- Painful sex: Incoordination of muscle contractions during intercourse can cause stress on the vagina and the surrounding supporting tissues, resulting in muscle spasms and pain.
- Digestive problems result in stresses on the bowels.
- Inflammation and pain from Interstitial Cystitis, for example, will affect bowel patterns.
- Atrophy of the muscles and tissues, dryness, and reduced tissue pliability all affect pelvic floor control and pain.
In this exercise you will learn how to activate and relax your pelvic floor in relation to other muscle groups.
What you will learn:
- How to activate and relax your pelvic floor muscles independently of your other muscle groups.
What you will need:
- Bare feet, no shoes, no socks.
- A comfortable place to lie down preferably a harder surface with yoga/exercise mat.
Please be brutally honest when answering THE PELVIC FLOOR SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE there are NO CORRECT answers!
**PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER THIS EXERCISE PLEASE SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR EVALUATION AND PROPER DIAGNOSIS. THE PELVIC BOWL LECTURE, EXERCISE VIDEO AND SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS ARE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THEY ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR NOR INTENDED FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT OF ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS.**