Posture plays a huge role in our overall health, especially when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. While the focus is generally on the pelvic floor, we need to realize that the floor is not an independent part of your body but is the bottom, the floor of a house, the pelvis whose instability comes before evaluating the floor! Maintaining proper posture and understanding the connection between breathing and pelvic health is crucial to preventing and managing pelvic floor dysfunction. Our lifestyle choices directly influence our posture including the house, that the pelvic floor is the floor of.
Posture is a reflection of your health! It is the way you hold your body while sitting, standing, or moving and its poor status impacts the whole body including breathing. It is not just for the looks but a gauge to predict future health. When you are sad, tired, or unhappy your posture is in a forward position and when you are excited, energetic, confident, and ready to ‘conquer’ your posture is strong. Good posture comes with functional movement and stability and not because you stick your chest out for that picture. When it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction, the failure of what is wrong above the pelvis and what is connected to the pelvis leads to instability of the pelvis which is the house the pelvic floor is the floor of.
What Is The Connection Between Posture and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Imagine your pelvic floor muscles as a hammock that supports your internal organs. When you slouch or have poor posture, this hammock gets stretched out of its natural position. Over time, this continual stretching can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to problems like incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and even sexual dysfunction and other subtle signs of pelvic floor dysfunction that I wrote about in my previously published blog.
What Is The Connection Between Breath and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Believe it or not, your breathing patterns are closely connected to your pelvic floor health. When you take a deep breath in through your nose, your diaphragm goes down toward the feet, and your pelvic floor naturally relaxes. When exhaling, this path is reversed, and the muscles of the pelvic floor contract which is the Kegel that everyone talks about when having pelvic floor issues. This synchronized movement between the diaphragm and pelvic floor ensures proper function and support. Improper breathing patterns, such as shallow chest breathing, can disrupt this coordination and lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
To promote healthy pelvic floor function, it’s essential to practice biological breathing which is what we all did as babies. This involves inhaling deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand as your diaphragm moves downward, and then exhaling slowly as outlined in the video above. By consciously practicing this type of breathing, you can help maintain the harmony between your diaphragm and pelvic floor, reducing the risk of dysfunction.
What Is The Connection Between Lifestyle, Posture and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Your daily habits and lifestyle choices significantly influence your posture and your pelvic floor health. Here are some common lifestyle factors that can affect both:
Spending long hours sitting at a desk or on the couch can encourage poor posture. Make an effort to stand, stretch, and move regularly throughout the day to support better posture. The best chair is an exercise ball for your desk setup. Here is a checklist to set your workspace up based on your height and ergonomically.
The only exercise type that makes sense for stabilization of the body which simultaneously stretches the tight muscles and strengthens the weak is the developmental movement exercises such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization. These are the types of exercises I do with my patients that produce great results.
Feet and Shoes:
High heels and unsupportive shoes can alter your posture, causing your pelvis to tilt forward putting pressure on the pelvic floor. Opt for comfortable, supportive footwear whenever possible. We almost always recommend Toepro as the best starting point to train the feet to work more effectively.
Diet and Hydration:
Constipation and straining during bowel movements can strain the pelvic floor. Ensure you maintain a balanced diet rich in natural fiber (not from processed grain) and stay adequately hydrated to prevent digestive issues.
Stress impacts every part of your body and can lead to muscle tension and poor posture. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to relax your body and improve your posture.
If you need help with your pelvic floor dysfunction or are not happy with the current treatment you are receiving, contact me; I now provide coaching sessions for my out-of-state and overseas clients.