How Early should we learn about Pelvic Health?Jun 23, 2022
Whether you are experiencing pelvic floor symptoms or not or don’t know what these symptoms would feel like, it's never too late to learn about YOUR body.
Pelvic health is an important topic for EVERYONE, not just women who are pregnant and postpartum.
Improving women's awareness of pelvic floor health and teaching them pelvic floor muscle exercises early in their lives is an effective way to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction in the future.
The sad reality is that most pelvic health clients first learn about their anatomy, mechanics, and the function of their pelvic floor when they are having concerns or getting a prescription from their doctor to help return them to “normal” or improve symptoms they are having from a dysfunction.
Often the first-time women get any education is when they are pregnant or about to give birth. Here’s the rub, pregnancy itself, for many, is already too late to have gone without this information. They needed it BEFORE they were pregnant, not after delivery.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), girls aged 12 to 17 should be taught in school how to do pelvic floor exercises to avoid issues such as incontinence later in life.
Leaks happen to women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Most people assume that it is only older women that have bladder or bowel problems or problems 'down there,' but you could be in your teens or early twenties and have signs of a weak pelvic floor. Approximately 10% of women with pelvic floor weakness are under the age of 39.
While pregnancy or aging often lead to leakage problems and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), they aren’t the only things at fault.
- Over 30% of female athletes deal with bladder leaks.
- Overweight or obese females are also more likely to deal.
- Chronic coughing, smoking, and nerve injuries to the lower back are other factors that can contribute to SUI.
High-impact sports can be a big contributor to why so many student-athletes find themselves dealing with leakage issues. Hormonal fluctuations can also play a role throughout the teen years.
Getting yearly check-ups by a physical therapist trained in youth sports and spine and trunk control specific to girls’ bodies can help prevent seemingly small problems from becoming bigger injuries.
Sometimes there may seem to be no direct cause for symptoms. One sad fact about incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction is that it affects around 30% of girls before their 20s who are already having pelvic floor symptoms and a significant number of girls and women who have these symptoms already, regardless of their activity.
In a study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers found female students from three Chicago schools in eighth and ninth grade had very little knowledge of their bodies, pelvic function, and pelvic conditions. Only 14 percent could identify the vagina, and 70 percent thought it was normal to leak urine.
The reality is. It is not ‘normal’
Teens rarely talk about their periods or incontinence problems with their friends. Often as young girls & boys, we learn that peeing your pants is shameful and, talking about peeing and pooping is not OK, and getting your period is a big secret.
The Solution - Start the conversation early.
Get educated and share the information with young women. Speak with a pelvic floor or physical therapist.
It's time for pelvic health to be discussed and offered to all vagina owners!
It's time to break through taboos and redefine how we think about women’s health. You CAN overcome challenges like incontinence and organ prolapse and regain a sense of control and confidence in your life.
The 28-Day Challenge and Buff Muff Membership
I recommend checking out my comprehensive pelvic health education and fitness programs on my Buff Muff App. The most complete Pelvic Floor & Kegel exercise App to strengthen the pelvic floor.
The Buff Muff 28-Day Challenge (housed in the App) gets you started, and the Annual membership keeps you progressing so you can laugh, run, jump, and lift without the pesky leaks and annoying discomfort of prolapse symptoms.