Last summer, I was exploring my new home of Fort Collins and decided to take a hike up to Horsetooth Mountain. With the dry heat and beating sun, I was making sure to stay hydrated. On my way home I had a strong desire to void but I was so close to home that I didn’t want to stop. I took a couple of deep breaths, performed+5 quick pelvic floor contractions (or “Kegels”), and *poof* the urge was temporarily suppressed, and I was able to make it home with no leaking. Do you know why or how this happens?
Do you know what the relationship is between the bladder and the pelvic floor? If not – read on!
The bladder and the pelvic floor have a very close relationship. They’re constantly working to keep us content. Our bladder is a muscle and so is the pelvic floor therefore they are both able to contract and relax. When our bladder is relaxed, it gradually fills up with urine while our pelvic floor muscles are contracted working to keep our pee in and our pants dry! The opposite needs to happen when we go to the bathroom – our bladder needs to contract, and our pelvic floor muscles need to relax so that we can void successfully. In the story above, my brain was sent the urge to urinate by my full bladder however I was able to relax the bladder by contracting the pelvic floor – the contracted pelvic floor told my brain that my bladder muscle needed to relax, and I was able to stay continent. Then, when I was finally able to sit on a toilet, my pelvic floor was able to relax and by bladder contracted to allow urination to occur. Sometimes we have difficulty getting our pelvic floor muscles to relax while we are urinating/defecating which can lead to incomplete emptying, a weak stream, spraying stream or even constipation. Keep reading to find out ways to prevent these from happening!
Here are some tips for optimal toileting habits to keep your pelvic floor happy and healthy:
Contact us if you have been guilty of one of these toiling mistakes and would like to learn more about keeping your pelvic floor happy and healthy!
This blog was written by our very own Pelvic/Women’s Specialist, Dr. Sam Greig.