Stress and pelvic floor: discover how it affects and learns to prevent and treat problems.
Work, family, that list of procedures that costs so much to cross, emotional problems and relationships … And you wonder why you are so stressed? Do not worry, you’re not alone in this. Stress affects everyone and, although small amounts of stress are a normal part of life, chronic stress is not.
Being stressed all the time can cause harm to your emotional and physical well-being, also on your pelvic floor. Okay, your pelvic floor should be the last thing you think about when you have millions of things to occupy and worry about. We understand, but, really, your pelvic floor should be in your mind. A strong and healthy pelvic floor can help you stay in shape, give you confidence and keep your entire reproductive system functioning well. So, how does stress affect your pelvic floor? Keep reading!
WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR?
Before going into how stress affects the health of your pelvic floor, let’s review what the pelvic floor is. In summary, your pelvic floor is a muscular network that is at the base of your pelvis. It is shaped like a hammock and, in women, holds the bladder, uterus and intestines.
The pelvic floor is what allows you to have control over your bladder and bowel impulses with the help of the sphincter muscles in the bladder and rectum. To locate the pelvic floor, squeeze as if you were trying to stop the pipi. Do you feel that? It’s your pelvic floor doing the hiring.
HOW STRESS AFFECTS YOUR PELVIC FLOOR
Not all stress is bad. In fact, it is necessary for survival and is responsible for the rush of adrenaline that you feel in situations of struggle or flight, as when you find your ex-boyfriend in the most unexpected place
But stress, the bad one, can cause your pelvic floor to become too tense ( hypertonia ) because, when you are tense, you tend to hold your breath and contract the muscles, including the pelvic floor. Not to be confused, this way of tightening the pelvic floor is not good for toning and strengthening it. It would be the equivalent of the muscular contractures that we suffer in the neck and back: the muscles tense, but does not mean that it is stronger or toned.
Therefore, not managing your stress (or the way you deal with it) can put your pelvic health at risk and lead to dysfunctions such as urinary incontinence , pain in sexual intercourse , chronic constipation , pelvic pain and prolapse.
SYMPTOMS OF PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION
The big question is how to know if my pelvic floor is damaged? Fortunately, there are symptoms that allow us to identify (and then treat properly) a pelvic floor that is not working properly. These are some:
- Constant need to go to the bathroom
- Urinary problems such as stress incontinence or overactive bladder
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
- Discomfort or pain in sexual relationships
- Pain when urinating
- Low back pain
- Inability to control bowel movements
- Prolapse of pelvic organs
HOW TO PREVENT AND RELAX YOUR PELVIC FLOOR (AND YOUR MIND)
Luckily, stress management can help you keep your pelvic floor healthy, and keeping your pelvic floor healthy at the same time can take away the stress of suffering from these unpleasant symptoms that affect your emotional health and your quality of life.
To manage stress:
- Take deep breaths
- Get enough sleep
- Have a balanced diet
- Practice yoga
- Meditate (we do not get mystical, meditating 10 minutes a day is easy and can help you a lot!)
- Stay away from people who stress you (not always possible but worth an opportunity!)
- Delegate responsibilities (such as cooking dinner) to other capable adults
To keep your pelvic floor healthy
- Use a warm towel to help relieve immediate pain or tension in the pelvic area
- Take a hot bath
- Kegel exercises (yes, Kegel exercises are not just for toning, there are also very effective relaxation exercises).
- Practice yoga or pilates
- Strengthen the abdominal girdle (with exercises that do not damage the pelvic floor, such as Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics ).
TAKE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
The idea here is to relieve your stress and keep your pelvic floor healthy. Preventive health is much easier than trying to solve problems.
Pelvic problems caused by stress can be easily treated, especially if you start immediately. The longer you let stress take over your life, the more likely you are to develop pelvic floor conditions that require more treatment than a 10-minute Kegel session.
Life is very demanding, we know it, but take time to take care of yourself. Whether it’s yoga on a daily basis or a self-indulgent spa session with your friends, listening to your body is the best for a healthy life. So go ahead, forget about the idea of being a superwoman that can do anything, and give yourself permission to do the best you can, take care of yourself and give yourself time for yourself.
The way we offer you in Bwom is to dedicate 10 minutes a day of disconnection to do pelvic floor exercises, including Kegel exercises and hypopressive exercises (which will also help you reduce stress, and maintain a firm and sexy abdomen!).