Breathing is a natural and essential part of life. But, did you know that the way you breathe can impact the health of your pelvic floor?
Breathing and the pelvic floor are intimately connected and interact with each other in several ways. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissue that spans the base of the pelvis, forming a hammock-like structure that supports the pelvic organs. The diaphragm is the primary muscle responsible for breathing. It sits at the bottom of the ribcage and separates the chest and abdominal cavities.
When talking about pelvic health, it is important to be aware of proper breathing techniques and how they can support a healthy pelvic floor. In this blog, we’ll explore the connection between breathing and the pelvic floor, and how physiotherapy can help you achieve move and feel better.
The Connection Between Breathing and the Pelvic Floor:
Your pelvic floor muscles play a vital role in supporting your bladder, uterus, and rectum. They also work together with your diaphragm to help stabilise your core.
During inhalation (breathing in) , the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, this creates a vacuum that allows the lungs to expand and fill with air. At the same time, the pelvic floor muscles relax to accommodate the downward movement of the diaphragm, this allows expansion of the abdominal cavity. As you exhale (breathe out), the diaphragm relaxes and moves upward, while the pelvic floor muscles naturally contract to help expel air from the lungs. Therefore, learning how to breathe correctly can help support your pelvic floor health.
Where does it go wrong?
As women, we are constantly holding our bellies in because we don’t want to look bigger than we are. This leads us to overuse our accessory breathing muscles in our necks and our mid backs to stiffen up. It also places unnecessary stress on the pelvic floor, which overtime leads it to tightness in the pelvic floor muscles to tighten up.
Pregnancy also changes our breathing, as a growing baby reduces the ability of the diaphragm to expand. Over nine months, our normal breathing pattern changes. This is then accompanied with the stress of a new-born. This again can lead to overactivity in the pelvic floor.
The Benefits of Proper Breathing and Pelvic Floor Health:
Correcting your breathing technique can help improve awareness and control of your pelvic floor muscles, as well as improve your mid back mobility and core contraction. By integrating diaphragmatic breathing with exercises that target the pelvic floor, such as Kegels, individuals can improve the strength, endurance, and coordination of these muscles. Coordinating breath with pelvic floor exercises can also enhance relaxation and prevent unnecessary tension or overactivity in the pelvic floor.
How Physiotherapy Can Help:
At Invigorate Health and Performance, we frequently work with those struggling with their pelvic floor health. We can help you learn proper breathing techniques that support your pelvic floor health and reduce the risk of issues like incontinence, pelvic pain, and prolapse. Our team will assess your breathing pattern and provide you with personalised exercises to help you achieve optimal breathing and pelvic floor health. We use a range of techniques, including manual therapy, ultrasound, and exercise therapy, to help you achieve your goals.
So, if you’re experiencing any issues related to pelvic floor health, breathing, or core stability, our team of physiotherapists is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards achieving optimal health.
Don’t let pelvic floor issues affect your quality of life. Take control of your health today and let us help you achieve your goals.
Written by Anouska Symons (Senior and Women’s Health Physio)