Functions and dysfunctions of the female pelvic floor
The pelvic floor consists of a complex interlacing of muscles located in the lower part of the pelvis, which have the function of maintaining the pelvic organs (i.e., uterus, rectum, bladder and urethra) in the correct position. Under normal conditions of tone and elasticity, these muscles guarantee correct physiological urination, defecation, sexual and reproduction functions. Without good muscular support, however, the organs can weaken and yield, leading to the onset of numerous dysfunctions: gynaecological disorders, chronic pelvic pain, urinary and faecal incontinence, haemorrhoids, disorders linked to sexuality, and in the most serious cases bladder, uterus or rectum prolapse.
Taking care of the pelvic floor at all ages
The pelvic floor represents one of the main pillars for the health and well-being of every woman: it is the centre of femininity, sexuality, emotions and birth. It is an intimate area, which is nevertheless given little attention and is often not even treated. Indeed, many women only discover their pelvic floor during pregnancy (through prenatal classes or books dedicated to motherhood), or after a series of problems that forced them to consult a specialist.
Contrary to common belief, the pelvic floor is not only important in postpartum and menopause: learning from a young age to understand, listen to and dedicate the right attention to this area is essential to deeply understand your body and to improve your intimate and psychological well-being. In fertile age, these muscles are the protagonists of sexual pleasure, and training them means improving tonicity and therefore orgasmic contraction. During pregnancy, the perineum muscles are subjected to considerable stretching. It is therefore frequent that the perineum undergoes lesions that manifest themselves even years later. During the postpartum period, however, minor incontinence problems may occur due to stretching of the tissues or to possible trauma to the muscles of the pelvic floor. Finally, during menopause, urinary incontinence or prolapse problems may arise due to a hypotonia of these muscles because they are poorly trained or atrophied due to
Psychological influence in everyday life
Pelvic floor dysfunctions not only bring about physical problems, but also a baggage of emotions that profoundly affect daily life. It is indeed frequent to find women with pelvic muscle dysfunction who are experiencing situations of extreme discomfort, sadness and loneliness. These imbalances affect:
- the social field, as they can lead the woman to limit her relationships with other people and avoid moments of amusement and fun;
- the sexual field: pain, as well as urinary and faecal incontinence, can lead to avoidance/elimination of sexual intercourse or to no longer feeling desirable to their partner;
- the workplace: women can feel a sense of restlessness and agitation in having to face their day in a constantly controlled environment in which they cannot feel free, for example, to go to the bathroom often.
These conditions create a background of solitude and sadness for women, some of which also tend to underestimate their state, thinking that it will improve over time. This is why it is essential to improve the knowledge of this muscular structure, and above all, to promote a physical and psychological rehabilitation approach while spreading a greater awareness about the tools available to every woman to regain control over her life.
The objectives of a psychological path
In the presence of pelvic floor dysfunctions, the objectives of a psychological path are manifold. They essentially aim to listen, to understand emotional discomfort and to accompany the suffering person toward a greater awareness. To manage the psychological aspects that occur with the disease, such as anxiety, depression, vulnerability; but also, to interrupt the cycle of pain constituted by muscular exigencies – psychological stress – accentuation of painful symptoms. Finally, a psychological path can also be helpful for to the couple in distress, since the emotional and sexual tensions created can lead to a distance between the partners.