“I just peed myself during that set of squats” is not a confession you will hear too often. Especially not in the company of an attractive 22 year old personal trainer. But we sure as heck should start talking about pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) because it’s not just mothers and seniors suffering from it, but women who have never given birth, teens, athletes and even men.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is not ‘normal’, but it’s more common than you think.
In fact, according to research 1 out of every 5 Americans (of every age) suffer from some type of pelvic floor dysfunction at some time in their life – and these stats only cover the ones who reported it.
With such societal pressure to get fit and lose weight after having a baby, many women jump on exercise programs as soon as they can (usually within 6 weeks to 5 years). Gym programs, workout videos. ‘Burn This, Lose That’ type programs. And hey, it’s human nature to have the desire to push through workouts to attain aesthetics goals or just feel ‘normal’ and ‘like yourself’ again. But, despite your best intentions, the very things you are doing to improve your post-pardum state may be the very things that work against you.
Sometimes you need to take a step back before you go forward. Otherwise you end up taking a step forward and then 3 steps back.
I’m talking about going too hard out of the gates and pushing your body harder than what it is able to stabilize through. You won’t even necessarily know the harm you are doing at the time, but the dysfunction created in your pelvis will remain after the pain has subsided. Pelvic floor dysfunction, debilitating low back pain, or a prolapse down the road is never ideal.
Doing it wrong can create problems and just accepting it as ‘what it is’ is not necessary. Most symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction (from incontinence to prolapse) can be treated or prevented, but ignoring or abusing our pelvic floor as we age can increase our chances of living with problems.
A little proactive training can go a long way. So before jumping full-on into exercise, here are a few moves to avoid in the short term:
Until your core is strong enough to stabilize hanging your whole body off it, a plank is simply too much load. Side planks included.
Start with: Core Engaging Exercises. Read Flat Tummy Secrets: 3 Simple Core Exercises
- Heavy Loading
Being unable to keep your proper form and bracing to fight a weight that is too heavy for your ability to stabilize is only going to create more pressure on the pelvic floor.
Start with: Proper Breathing Exercise
Besides creating a loaded flexion through your spine potentially damaging your discs, crunches do nothing to advance your core function. Skip them. There are many safer and more effective ways of returning your tummy tone and your core to a more functional place.
Start with: Core test
If you have any sense of pelvic floor dysfunction, you are not alone, there is help. I am a certified Pre and Post Natal Specialist and Online Personal Trainer. Join me for some online training to work on your core and pelvic floor control in the privacy of your own home. Click here for more info or send me an email on my contact page and I can point you in the right direction.
Looking for more info on PFD, check this great article out.