The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus. Problems with the pelvic floor can lead to incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and pain when using the restroom.
Other symptoms that may indicate your pelvic floor muscles are weakened include the inability to hold gas, leakage of urine when sneezing or exerting strenuous effort, and lower back pain.
Severely weak pelvic floor muscles can no longer provide support to the organs in the pelvic floor, so they can cause one or more of these organs to slip into the vagina.
Risk factors for developing pelvic floor problems include low estrogen levels after menopause, childbirth, chronic constipation, chronic sneezing, and obesity.
Below, we asked Dr. John Macey, who serves patients in his thriving OB/GYN practice in Nashville, Tennessee, to explain some of the ways to support your pelvic floor from the comfort of your home.
Eat a diet high in protein
The pelvic floor muscles, like any other muscles in the body, require protein to repair tissue and build new muscle fibers. The most absorbable sources of protein include whey, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Avoid foods that make you constipated
Chronic constipation can lead to weakened pelvic floor muscles. Not everyone gets constipated for the same reason, so it’s important to keep track of what you eat and how your body responds to each food item. Common constipation triggers include alcohol, grains, unripe bananas, and chocolate.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess pressure on your pelvic floor due to carrying a few extra pounds can also lead to weakness in the pelvic floor. You can find out if you’re near an ideal weight by calculating your body mass index.
Invest time in pelvic floor exercises
Kegel exercises are designed to help women with weakened pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are more likely to help women who suffer from incontinence and have a strong urge to urinate.
Kegels are efficient only when you isolate the pelvic muscles and focus on them during the exercise. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re doing them right, seek guidance from a medical professional so you can learn how to get the best out of these workouts.
Treatments available for weakened pelvic floor muscles
If you’re suffering from incontinence as a consequence of weakened pelvic floor muscles, Dr. Macey may recommend Kegel exercises alongside laser therapy to rejuvenate the tissues supporting the bladder.
You may also benefit from hormone replacement therapy, as low estrogen levels are often associated with pelvic floor problems.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and get a personalized plan for managing your symptoms.