Pelvic floor Weakness:
Pelvic floor muscles can become weak for different reasons. E.g during pregnancy or childbirth or simply due to aging.
Aging: All of our muscles lose strength as we age and the pelvic floor is no different. This loss of strength is gradual in men, but happens very quickly in women when they go through menopause.
Pregnancy and childbirth can result in weakened muscles. It takes pelvic floor muscles up to six months and nerves up to twelve months to recover from a vaginal delivery.
Constipation and straining can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and may even lead to prolapse of the vagina in women or the rectum in men and women.
Incorrect exercise technique and repetitive heavy lifting can also cause muscle weakness. If the pelvic floor muscles do not meet the abdominal pressure exerted during exercise this strains the muscles causing stretching and weakness. During resistance training (e.g. lifting weights) your breathing needs to be maintained to prevent pressure on the pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor Tightness: the pelvic floor can also cause problems if is it is overactive ie. Holding too much tension. This is a common cause of pelvic pain.
This could be a result of Long term inappropriate exercise or repetitive high impact exercise, a history of painful intercourse, a traumatic event such as abuse or if you hold tension in these muscles in times of stress. Nerve compression during childbirth or from sitting in certain postures may also contribute.
Poor co-ordination: The pelvic floor needs to contract at the right time to prevent the bladder leaking. If these muscles don’t work at the right time or at the right amount you may have incontinence even if the muscles are strong. Your pelvic floor should contract when you cough, sneeze, lift objects and change positions.