27 February 2018

ARE YOU A RUNNER WITH A WEAK OR OVER-ACTIVE PELVIC FLOOR?

Those of you who know me know I talk A LOT about the pelvic floor – mainly because it is a muscle and I exercise muscles!! I do try my hardest to make other people talk about it too, to spread the word about how important it is and what to do in everyday life if you have a dysfunctional pelvic floor.

You may not have a weak pelvic floor – have you heard about a Hypertonic/overactive pelvic floor?  This is when you have tight pelvic floor muscles so as they are tight they are not working to support you when jumping/running and is more common than you think – especially amongst sports people.

I have been working with a lovely client for a while now who came to me as she was leaking when running and really wanted to carry on running. I taught her how to breath properly, how to avoid intra-abdominal  pressure pushing down on the pelvic floor but she was still getting some leaking every now and then.  I’m usually quite quick off the mark and something in the health screening form would trigger ‘could have an overactive pelvic floor’ but for some reason I didn’t think about it to begin with.  When the light bulb moment happened and she was happy to miss a few sessions with me and go and see one of our wonderful Womens Health Physio’s (WHP) instead – she was able to have internal pelvic floor assessment, release work on those muscles and taught some ‘downtraining/relaxation’ techniques – only needed 2 sessions with the WHP and hey presto back with me and able to run without leaking!! 

My analogy that I have been using lately is related to cars – what is the similarity between cars and pelvic floors you may ask?

So, if your car is leaking oil you know that isn’t a good sign, so you would generally have to take it to the garage to get it looked at/fixed and reluctantly pay a small fortune for the problem.  Why however, if you are leaking wee when running or doing exercise or feel that your pelvic floor muscles just don’t feel right  yet you think I’ll do a few Kegal exercises or will just put a pad in.  You haven’t solved your problem and if you carry on leaking with exercise then when it comes to the menopause some of you may just be regretting not having got it sorted earlier.  Generally most of the time it can be sorted!

All around the country there are some excellent Womens Health Physios (WHP) who you can ask your GP to be referred to/ see privately.  There are also now Holistic Core Restore(R) coaches like myself all around the country who specialise in a functional core and pelvic floor (https://www.holisticcorerestore.com).  The Everywomen course I run can help and make you much more aware of your body and will teach you a lot more than just Kegals! (https://www.vickihill.co.uk/new-mums-holistic-core-restore)

You may have just had a baby (post 8 weeks),  have older kids, have had a hysterectomy,  are perimenopausal or through the menopause – at any stage of life you can have a dysfunctional pelvic floor and we can help you mend it or manage it!

Symptoms of Pelvic floor dysfunction: urinary or faecal incontinence (lack of control of the bladder or anus), painful sex, heaviness in the pelvis or lower back, inability to empty the bowels, constipation, urinary frequency or stopping mid flow.