Women’s Health: What are the causes of weakening of pelvic floor muscles and how can this condition be controlled? “I was very tired. Couldn’t stand for long, as soon as I sneezed or coughed, I would climb stairs or lift any weight, my urine would go wrong. I couldn’t even lift my baby because I thought I was urinating.
Areeba Shahid, had problems with weakening of the pelvic floor muscles (lower abdominal muscles) when she gave birth to her third child with a very short interval. A few days after the third pregnancy, when she was busy with her daily life, she noticed obvious changes in her body. During this time he suffered from lower abdominal cramps and severe weakness.
Some days Areeba may think that it is a temporary weakness which will be cured by taking diet and some multivitamins but with the passage of time the problem got worse and it became difficult for her to control her urination even though she did not feel any need.
Once I was very embarrassed when I went to the market and with a cough my urine started leaking and my clothes started getting dirty. I was very upset and embarrassed, and when I got home I started to get depressed. ‘ Areeba Shahid said that she used to feel that urine was coming, but when she went to the washroom, urine would come out. This situation pushed them into despair.
He stopped meeting people and coming and going anywhere. This problem, which at first seemed trivial, over time made their lives miserable. “It simply came to our notice then. I started to need pads all the time to prevent my clothes from getting damaged while working at home. I even felt that I was suffering from a serious illness and not normal.
When Areeba talked to her husband about these problems in detail, they took her to the doctor, where after a check-up, they found out that Areeba’s pelvic floor muscles (lower abdominal muscles) had become weak and now they Specific physical exercises will have to be done with the help of a physiotherapist to strengthen.
Before we move on to Areeba Shahid’s story, let us know what pelvic floor muscles actually are and what are the reasons for their weakness. Dr. Saba Karamat conducts therapy and physical exercises for all women who suffer from urinary incontinence during or after childbirth or any other medical problem.
According to Dr. Saba Karamat, a physiotherapist at Shifa International Islamabad, pelvic floor muscles are actually the internal muscles that support the organs in our lower abdomen. The muscles that make up the entire floor to support these organs, including our bladder, intestines, anus, and the uterus in women, are called pelvic floor muscles.
What are the causes of weakness of pelvic floor muscles in women?
Dr. Shazia Fakhr, Head of Gynecology Ward, Shifa International Hospital, says that pelvic floor muscles or lower abdomen are more important for women because of multiple pregnancies, shorter birth periods, with increasing age and sometimes Due to the nature of the work, these muscles become weak or loose. As they age, they weaken along with other muscles. However, sometimes some women have congenital muscle weakness.
“Constipation, asthma, chronic cough or any pressure that puts pressure on the lower abdomen, weakens the pelvic floor muscles. The weight of the baby during pregnancy puts pressure on the muscles, pain during childbirth and too much stretching of the muscles during normal delivery and then with each birth these muscles become more relaxed.
According to Dr. Shazia Fakhr, an average of 25% of women in Pakistan suffer from pelvic floor muscle weakness. According to him, if we look at the same proportion with increasing age, more than 50% of women are suffering from weakness of pelvic floor muscles.
Feeling weary and weak when walking fast, coughing, talking loudly, laughing or climbing stairs, and a slight loosening of the bowel movement are signs of weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. This means that you need to pay close attention to it.
Women must make some simple exercises a part of their daily life during pregnancy and after childbirth so that they can stay medically fit. Dr. Shazia Fakhr says that constipation, asthma, chronic cough or any pressure that puts pressure on the lower abdomen, in this situation the pelvic floor muscles become weak.
When Areeba Shahid went to the gynecologist with these health problems, the doctor instructed her to start Kegel exercises. According to Areeba, at first it took her a while to figure out what muscles she needed to work on, but once she understood, she was able to do these exercises at home.
“The doctor treated me with the help of machines for two months and gave me some exercises, which helped me to recover. The problem of urine leakage from Kegel exercises has been controlled up to 80% in just two months. Now I can not only exercise at home but also feel very well. Kegel exercises involve pushing or pulling the lower muscles upwards, like a vacuum.
To find out about Kegel Exercises, we headed to the ward attached to the Gynecology OPD at Shafa International Hospital, where physiotherapist Dr. Saba Karamat offers therapy and physical exercises to all women who need to be treated during childbirth or later. Urinary incontinence due to a medical problem.
“Women who come to us have problems with leakage of urine, while some feel a heaviness in the lower abdomen. We then teach the patient exercises and use some tools and machines to strengthen their muscles quickly. According to Dr. Saba, the important step before starting Kegel exercises is that the patient is aware of his body and for this we explain to the patient through diagrams and various examples so that he can recognize the internal muscles.
We give women the example that just as a vacuum pulls things inside you, you have to pull those muscles up and push them up and hold this position for a few seconds. Now, if the patients here are a little older, then the time to stop them by pulling these muscles will be less than that of younger women. Therefore, it is important to work on strengthening your muscles as soon as you notice these problems.
According to Dr. Saba, while teaching Kegel exercises, she first helps women to identify which muscles to contract when urinating and not to hold their breath or tighten the muscles of the abdomen and legs. Once women know these specific muscles and learn to contract them correctly, they start working on their therapy.
At the same time, patients are told to repeat Kegel exercises daily for three to five months so that the muscles do not suffer from this weakness again. According to him, Kegel exercises have to be done at the same time to strengthen the abdominal and lumbar muscles so that the problems do not recur.
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What precautions are needed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles?
According to Dr. Saba Karamat, the muscles below the abdomen are providing a surface or floor function in our body which supports the bladder, intestines and uterine system. When this floor becomes weak, these organs will begin to come down.
“Many women feel weak because of the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and a pressure or weight is putting pressure under the navel. So the weakness of these muscles actually causes the uterus to come down and this can seriously affect daily life.
‘Women with urinary incontinence often drink less water because they think it can lead to leakage of urine, although dehydration can actually weaken the muscles, so drink more water. ۔ However, after a while, make an appointment to go to the washroom.
“Whenever women lift or hold weights, they lift weights by bending the knees instead of pushing the back, it will not put pressure on the muscles inside the abdomen. If constipation is a problem, treat it with food or medicine so that the extra pressure does not put pressure on the lower abdomen. These physical exercises involve pushing or pulling the lower muscles upwards like a vacuum.
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According to Dr. Saba Karamat, women generally think that they have an internal problem which can be cured only with medicine. They need to know that they need more exercise and caution to strengthen their muscles.
It is still not easy for women from traditionalist families in Pakistan to talk about their reproductive health issues. So Areeba also found it difficult to explain her problem to other members of her family.
However, Dr. Saba Karamat says that whenever women have a problem with leakage of urine or they feel that they have to run to the washroom, they should talk about it without any hesitation and at the same time change their lifestyle. Make better