Be honest, have you ever tested your pelvic floor? Knowing how strong, mobile, and coordinated your pelvic floor is can help you establish a functional baseline so you know when things are getting better (or worse) and can seek help sooner rather than later.
So many of my clients have little knowledge of what the pelvic floor is, let alone how to test theirs out. And when I task my virtual clients with doing a self exam with my guidance, I'm often met with a horrified stare. We've been conditioned to leave our vaginal/pelvic floor health to the professionals - but the time has come for you to take charge of your pelvic health. This starts with self-awareness via a self-exam.
This simple pelvic floor test will give you some insight into where your pelvic floor stands and if you need some support from a pelvic floor therapist. Let's begin...
Before we do any kind of test we need to do a symptom/diagnosis/condition check. If you have any of these - seek out pelvic floor therapy
- leakage of urine, feces, or gas
- urinary or fecal urgency and/or frequency
- pelvic pain
- painful periods
- painful sex
- absent or less pleasurable/intense orgasms
- a change in sexual pleasure/desire
- diastasis rectus abdominis (separated abs)
- hip pain
- low back pain
- pubic symphysis pain (SPD)
If none of those apply to you, great! Let's see if your pelvic floor is functioning as it should. I want you to try these 3 movements with your pelvic floor
- relax (release the kegel)
- bear down
If you held your breath, felt weakness and/or pain, had to use other muscles (your abs, glutes, or inner thighs) to help you get a kegel, had difficulty releasing your pelvic floor, or didn't feel much movement when you bore down - you have pelvic floor dysfunction and need pelvic floor therapy before it becomes symptomatic.
Now let's try a cough. What did you notice? If you felt yourself do a kegel while you coughed - AMAZING! If your pelvic floor bulged out - that's a sign of poor pressure management which can be due to weakness and/or incoordination. This is pelvic floor dysfunction, and it's time to seek out pelvic floor therapy.
1 in 3 women will have a pelvic floor disorder in their lifetime, so if you found out you had pelvic floor dysfunction and need pelvic floor therapy you are NOT alone.
If you passed this pelvic floor test, CONGRATS! Keep your pelvic floor happy with strength training, stretching, proper breathing, stress management, good nutrition, and an overall healthy lifestyle. (Hint: Pelvic floor therapy is also super helpful for proactive pelvic floor management, so if you need support on how to maintain your pelvic floor absent any symptoms seek out pelvic floor therapy for prehab!)
I'm super proud of you for taking the time to assess your health and understand your body more. If you have questions, feel free to book a free discovery call with me!