Updated: May 4, 2020
We have talked about how complex the body is so why do we expect that simply doing a kegel will fix it all? And when it doesn't, is that the last option? Should we just settle? Of course not! But, knowledge is power so let's begin by talking about things that we learn that are incorrect. Here are 5 things that I hear A LOT!
1. Bladder leaks are part of aging and what happens after childbirth.
Leaking is a symptom of the breakdown of balance and function in the pelvis and trunk. There are many reasons why this happens. One precipitating factor can be childbirth but it can also be due to injury, illness, surgery, stress, weakness, excessive tension, straining, nervous over activity, and constipation to name a few. Regardless of the cause, leakage is never a normal occurrence, regardless of how little it may be.
TIP Assessing your pelvic floor while sitting:
If your pelvic floor is strong, you should feel all 4 corners of the perineum (privates) draw in and lift up towards your head.
1/2. Both sit bones (on each side),
3. The tailbone (in the back)
4. The pubic bone (in front).
Then, upon letting go, you should feel it all relax back down towards the seat. The urethra (pee tube) and anus (opening for bottom) should pull in and up equally as well. If you can't feel both a tightening/lift and a relax at the end, you may have an under performing muscle group.
2. The best way to do Kegels is to stop the flow of urine.
Please don’t do this routinely. While it can be helpful for you to locate the pelvic floor by stopping the flow of urine on the toilet, this is not a good place to “exercise” the muscle. The bladder fills like a reservoir and the walls stretch as the bladder fills. Once it is “full”, the walls start to contract, which gives you the feeling of urge. When you empty the bladder, the pelvic floor relaxes to “open the door”. This happens on a reflex, meaning automatically. By routinely contracting the pelvic floor, the reflex can be confused and you can affect the bladder’s ability to empty properly.
3. Everyone should do kegels for the rest of their lives
Oh dear, I hope not. The trend to strengthen the pelvic floor (kegel) to death is concerning. Strength is important but it is also really important to actually be able to use the pelvic floor.
A healthy pelvic floor needs to be flexible and strong. A large percentage of people actually have a shortened or tight pelvic floor that is strong but not usable because it is already on! In this case, we need to learn to stretch and relax the pelvic floor, build strength in surrounding, under performing muscles, and learn how to use our muscles. Doing this creates balance and symptoms often resolve.
4. I've been constipated forever, that's just how my body is.
Some have a harder time pooping than others. It is important to move your bowels regularly and it should be easy to go. If it’s not, we need to investigate what needs to change in the system. In simple cases, learning about foundational nutrition, fluid intake, stress management, activity and sleep can have a life changing impact on your bowels but having healthy pelvic muscles is also a really critical ingredient. I recommend that you poop a good log every day to get the trash out of your body. If this is not the case, what are you missing?
5. Sex is just not going to be comfortable, I do it for my partner
Intimate connection is crucial in a healthy relationship, creating a connection for a couple. If sexual intimacy is a struggle for you, there is something you can do about it. Addressing the symptoms associated with low libido, pain, and poor arousal can have a big impact on your relationship but digging deeper into the “why” can also be a really important part to the journey.
So now you know. What is the next step? Maybe it's time to stop assuming and start thriving.