Pelvic floor issues of urgency, frequency and stress incontinence are all complex, can stem from many different causes, and are more common than you might think.
- About 17% of women over 18 years old have overactive bladder (OAB) and an estimated 12.2 million adults have urge incontinence.
- In women between the ages of 20 and 45, the prevalence of overactive bladder was found to be 36.8%.
- 29% of individuals ages 60-70 experience leakage when coughing, sneezing, or laughing compared to 17% of men and women ages 30-39. A portion of these individuals also experience urge incontinence.
- Approximately, 1 out of 3 women over the age of 45, and 1 out of every 2 women over 65 have stress urinary incontinence.
- In 2010, 211,000 women had some type of surgery for stress urinary incontinence.
In order to heal from these issues, the pelvic floor tissues, pelvic alignment and nervous system MUST all be addressed.
In order to address the pelvic floor, it is important that you learn to breathe properly. Proper diaphragmatic breathing activates the pelvic floor by allowing it to both contract and relax with different phases of the breath. To see if you are breathing properly, take a few deep breaths now. Is your chest moving more than your abdomen? Do the lower ribs stay still when you breathe? Does your belly expand forward but not sideways or backwards? These are all indications of dysfunctional breathing patterns. In our office, we will coach you on how to breathe properly.
Another important way to address the pelvic floor is to see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. They will do an exam and be able to tell you exactly which muscles and tissues need be relaxed and which ones need to be strengthened and help guide you through the process.
Another integral part of a healthy and functional pelvic floor is proper pelvic alignment. Our pelvis can become misaligned through everyday poor posture, crossing our legs, sitting on a wallet or phone, small trips and falls, as well as through life’s bigger events of pregnancy, childbirth and traumas like car accidents and major sports injuries. In order for our pelvic floor muscles to be able to work properly, we need to address our pelvic alignment. Look at the bottom of your shoes. Are they wearing unevenly? This is a good indication that your pelvis needs to be adjusted by a chiropractor.
Lastly, and arguably the most important, the nerves that control your pelvic floor tissues need to be able to communicate effectively with them. Your brain and nervous system are in control of every function of your body. In order for you to be able heal from any urinary or pelvic floor issues, your brain needs to be able to recognize that there is an issue and respond appropriately. If your nerves are not able to communicate with the pelvic floor tissues properly, it does not matter what you do to try and address your issues because your brain won’t know that there is a problem in the first place and your body won’t be able to sustain changes long term.
How do we know if there is a problem with our nervous system? A big way that this system gets interfered with is through improper bio-mechanics. So, if you answered yes to any of the questions asked previously, then you most likely have a nervous system component contributing to your pelvic floor issues. The only way to truly know is to get it evaluated by a chiropractor.
While pelvic floor issues are very common, they are not normal. If you have been experiencing these symptoms for just a few days or many years, chiropractic may be the missing link to set you on a path towards healing. Let us help you. Visit our website or give us a call to set up a time to get your spine and nervous system evaluated.
**all statistics from The National Association for Continence