Jul 05th, 2021
Jul 05th, 2021 / Nicki Chick
Some of us are aware of the importance of strengthening our pelvic floor muscles. If you are, it’s probably because you’ve already experienced some problems with your pelvic floor. If you’re unsure what the pelvic floor is and why it’s important; to summarise, the pelvic floor helps to control bladder and bowel function (preventing incontinence) as well as working to support the internal organs and absorbing force when we exercise.
It’s unfortunate that the importance of our pelvic floor is often only discussed once symptoms have developed or the demand on the pelvic floor suddenly increases due to pregnancy.
A leading medical governing body (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) is trying to change this and has drafted guidelines proposing that pelvic floor strengthening exercises should be taught in school. Girls aged 12 to 17 years will be taught pelvic floor strengthening exercises as well as the basic anatomy of the pelvic floor. The hope is that by introducing strengthening exercises early on in life, it will prevent against continence issues and pelvic organ prolapse later on.
This is an exciting and proactive step forwards in the prevention of pelvic floor issues in women and children, and something which is long overdue. Currently 1 in 3 women experience continence issues during their lifetime, and that number only includes women that seek treatment. The actual figure is likely to be much higher as many believe that they must ‘put up’ with their symptoms and that’s it’s normal to experience continence issues after having children.
There is treatment available and no one should have to put up with pelvic floor issues. The age old saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ is a valid one and something that we should all be striving for. Hopefully future generations will benefit from better management of pelvic floor issues, clearer access to help and a feeling of empowerment, armed with the knowledge to understand and help themselves.