Wellness and Prevention Series
A client of mine is suddenly concerned about her pelvic floor after her young co-worker laughed so hard that her urinary incontinence went from a little leakage that she manages with a pantyliner, to needing to completely change her pants. The co-worker, who started out happy and having a wonderful laugh with her team, was reduced to tears. Another co-worker saved the day with her extra clothes (intended for a gym visit). By coincidence, I am now concerned about my own pelvic floor: My mother is having surgery on Friday for Pelvic Organ Prolapse which she thought was multiple problems, but it’s actually all symptoms of prolapse. Like all other serious matters it’s easy to joke about pelvic floor dysfunctions until it’s you or someone close to you. Of course, when someone in our family or friend circle gets sick, our horizons are suddenly broadened. Now my client and I are both interested in understanding this condition, and motivated to learn how to avoid incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The most recognized “causes” of pelvic floor dysfunction are childbirth, obesity, straining with constipation, etc. But one common denominator with all of these conditions is a weak pelvic floor. By strengthening our pelvic floors we reduce our chances of developing issues. And what’s really great for those who act early on their symptoms is that mild cases of incontinence can be reversed and maintained with a strong pelvic floor. What is interesting - and not a little horrifying - is that this isn’t a new issue. Women throughout history have had to manage pelvic floor dysfunction. Women have used (and continue to use) formal and informal pessaries - objects inserted into the vagina to hold back their organs and vaginal walls in the case of prolapse. And yes, I saw the potato story, and Snopes has not determined if that’s true so we will hold back on that one.
What I didn’t understand is the extent to which pelvic floor dysfunction interferes with our quality of life - mentally and physically. The Mayo Clinic notes symptoms can include vaginal discomfort, urinary problems such as leakage, bowel movement issues, and discomfort, sexual performance issues, vaginal itching and pain, etc. And of course, there is a stress and/or fear of the symptoms.
As fairly active Coloradans, we don’t want our active lifestyle disrupted by a preventable health issue. So what do we do?
The good news is that regardless of your background, the chances of experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction can be significantly reduced by strengthening - and then maintaining - your pelvic floor. Urogynecologist Dr. Bruce Crawford developed the Pfilates (Pelvic Floor Pilates) protocol for the purpose of increasing Pelvic Floor strength for resolving and preventing pelvic floor dysfunction after realizing that this basic fitness issue is often the root of incontinence and prolapse. Dr. Crawford used electromyography to monitor muscle firing during exercise to identify which exercises worked the pelvic floor most effectively. The pelvic floor, along with its co-recruiters work together to support the bladder, uterus, prostate and rectum. His clinical research on individuals with weak pelvic floors revealed a 74% improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms over the course of 4 weeks when following the Pfilates protocol, with very low attrition.
Available in Denver
MOVE Studios offers the Functional Pfilates workshop that Lindsey Hanahan developed based on her training in Dr. Crawford’s Pfilates protocol. This workshop trains and educates clients on the application of the Pfilates techniques and empowers them to establish a pelvic floor wellness habit with an 8-week workshop. Participants learn how to activate their Pelvic Floor musculature and integrate Pelvic Floor Movement into workout routines to form a personal wellness habit! The workshop is offered 3 times a year to offer the opportunity to continuously expand your knowledge and strengthen your practice.
The next cohort will begin on April 2nd with classes offered on Tuesday mornings or early evenings. There are a limited number of slots to ensure an effective workshop environment. Sign-up early to secure your spot!