Although little known, this muscle group participates in some of the most basic body tasks. And ask for exercises right away
You arrive at the gym, receive the training slip and note that it is aimed at arms, legs, abdomen and … pelvic floor . If you depend on the experts, this is exactly what will happen to future generations, more aware of the importance of this fabulous muscle web. The name “floor” does not come for free.
“It is the floor of the basin, a set of muscles in the form of a network that supports and suspends organs such as bladder and bowel, uterus and ovaries, in women , and prostate, in the case of men, ” explains the physiotherapist specializing in urogynecological re-education Mirca Christina da Silva Batista, from São Paulo.
Also part of this set are the sphincters, structures that relax and contract to allow or prevent the passage of pee, poop and gases. And it does not end there: the pelvic floor has a role in sexual activity, directly related to vaginal orgasm or male erection.
You can see that although we do not realize this, we use this mesh all the time and therefore we must take good care of it. Because, as the years go by, muscle tone is changing and the region, like other muscles in the body, tends to lose vigor. Some diseases, such as diabetes , obesity and hypertension , contribute to a worsening of the condition.
Gynecological or prostate withdrawal surgery can also cause concussions on the floor. “Other situations increase pressure inside the abdomen, such as constant coughing, weight lifting and practice of running, crossfit and other high-performance sports,” warns Silvana Uchoa, a pelvic physiotherapist and a professor at the Catholic University of Pernambuco .
Weakening, or an injury to the pelvic floor, is capable of generating complications such as constipation and fecal incontinence. And the decay of this muscle can be directly related to problems of the urinary tract, such as pee leaks and overactive bladder – annoyances that, according to a recent study by Astellas Farma Brasil with more than 5 thousand people, affect 50% of men and 70% of women from the age of 40. In more advanced stages, the muscular attrition leads to the fall or the detachment of the region’s organs.
Fortunately, it is possible to minimize or even prevent this list of perrengues. As? Strengthening the pelvic floor. First of all, however, it is necessary to exercise bodily awareness to get a more precise notion of its location.
“These are the muscles that surround the anus, penis and vagina. That is, contracting the pelvic floor does not mean touching the butt, thigh or belly “, explains Silvana. The use of mirror and the touch help the identification. “Do the contraction at the moment of the bath and press lightly with your hands to see if you can feel the pelvic region,” says the physiotherapist. Detected the area, it’s time to put it to work.
One of the most basic exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor is imperceptible to the eyes of others and can be done anywhere, since it works only with contraction and relaxation, as taught by Patricia Driusso, president of the Brazilian Association of Physiotherapy of Women’s Health : the floor and simulate throwing it up and inside. Hold for five seconds and relax. Make sequences of ten, three times a day. The repetition of this training will guarantee greater strength to the musculature “.
In the range of physical activities, Pilates is one of those that do a damn good to the region. Researchers from the Centro Universitário Estácio do Ceará , in Fortaleza, measured the impact of the positions of this modality on women. From the eighth session, it was noted that the combination of muscle contraction, abdominal wall and respiratory diaphragm provides greater perception and significant increase of pelvic floor strength.
The so-called Kegel exercises (see below), widely used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, are also indicated and still help overcome sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation, erectile problems and, in the female wing, pain and lack of pleasure.
The obstetrician and obstetrician Flavia Fairbanks, coordinator of the Project on Sexuality Studies at the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo ( Prosex ), warns that the answer depends on psychological and physical factors directly related to the pelvic floor. “Any state of tension, depression, anxiety or trauma can lead to permanent contraction and disrupt the quality of the sexual act,” he explains.
Women are even more susceptible to frailty in this network. To begin with, in them, the structure is traversed by urethra, vagina and anus, while in men are only two channels, urethra and anus. Not to mention the repercussions of a gestation – when the weight of the baby comes in, anatomical changes of the body and the influence of hormones, such as relaxin, which leaves the pelvic muscles softened for childbirth.
“This is why it is so important to exercise the muscles mainly after the first trimester of pregnancy, with greater intensity from the 28th week,” says Flavia. “And the pelvic floor should continue to be worked postpartum, when the vagina becomes drier and sore. With the strengthening, the woman will feel great difference in the recovery “, guarantees the coordinator of Prosex. The supervision of a specialist, she emphasizes, is essential to achieve good results.
Finding guidance on how best to move this muscle group, in fact, helps avoid situations like that found in a study published in the International Journal of Urogynecology. Researchers at Curtin University , Australia, followed 90 women who regularly participated in different sports practices.
They used ultrasound to assess their ability to contract the pelvic floor during abdominal exercises. In 25% of cases, the exercise was done incorrectly, at risk of affecting the tone of this muscle bundle.
When the problem is already installed, say, the treatment does not always come down to toning the region. “Sometimes it is necessary to do a body re-education and to use techniques conducted by physiotherapists, such as biofeedback, compressive gymnastics and vaginal cone,” says Arceu Duarte, a gynecologist at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in São Paulo.
The ideal, however, is not to let the situation cross this point. For this, what about seeking professional guidance and include a series that prestige the pelvic floor already from your next workout?