Dealing with Pelvic Floor Flare-ups: Understanding the Ups and Downs
October 26, 2023
If you’ve been following a pelvic floor program and experiencing positive results, it can be disheartening when your symptoms suddenly return. This blog post aims to address the frustration and confusion that can accompany flare-ups and recurrences of pelvic floor symptoms. Let’s explore some common reasons behind flare-ups and discuss strategies to manage them effectively.
Contrary to what we may expect, the pelvic floor journey is seldom a linear progression. It often involves ups and downs influenced by various factors. While we may hope for a continuous upward trajectory, it’s essential to acknowledge the complex nature of pelvic floor health. Several elements can impact your pelvic floor and trigger flare-ups:
- Changes in Movement Patterns: Disruptions to your regular exercise routine or alterations in daily movement habits can affect your pelvic floor. Whether it’s a decrease in physical activity or a shift in movement patterns due to travel, work changes, or sedentary behavior, these adjustments can contribute to flare-ups.
- Other Injuries or Irritations: Factors such as foot blisters, twisted ankles, or back problems can indirectly affect the pelvic floor. Any change in movement or discomfort in different areas of the body can influence pelvic floor function.
- Diet and Hormones: Fluctuations in hormones related to your menstrual cycle or the transition to menopause can contribute to pelvic floor symptoms. Additionally, diet can play a role, so it’s important to be mindful of its potential impact.
- Stress and Sleep: Stress is a significant factor that can affect the pelvic floor muscles. When stress levels increase, the pelvic floor tends to tighten, potentially leading to weakness and symptom flare-ups. Lack of sleep also contributes to heightened stress levels, impacting overall pelvic health.
- Sickness and Changes in Routine: Illness or changes in your routine, such as working from home or travel, can disrupt your pelvic floor routine and lead to symptoms resurfacing. Bedrest during sickness or limited physical activity during travel can impact pelvic floor function.
Experiencing a flare-up doesn’t mean you’ve regressed or failed in your progress. It’s crucial to approach these setbacks with patience and a proactive mindset. Here are some strategies to help you manage and minimize pelvic floor flare-ups:
- Consistency is Key: When you notice a flare-up coming on, return to the routine that was previously working well for you. Consistently engage in your pelvic floor exercises and activities every day. Even a few minutes of focused pelvic floor work can make a difference.
- Prioritize Self-care: Pay attention to factors like stress levels, sleep quality, and overall well-being. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques, ensuring adequate sleep, and practicing self-care can positively impact your pelvic floor health.
- Be Mindful of Movement: Maintain an active lifestyle and be aware of any changes in your movement patterns. Even small adjustments, such as sitting for extended periods or sudden increases in activity, can impact the pelvic floor. Strive for balanced and varied movement throughout your day.
- Seek Professional Guidance: Consulting with a pelvic floor specialist or physical therapist can provide personalized guidance and exercises tailored to your specific needs. They can help you navigate flare-ups, address underlying issues, and provide ongoing support.
The pelvic floor journey is not always a straightforward path. Flare-ups and recurrences of symptoms can be discouraging, but they are not uncommon. By understanding the various factors that influence pelvic floor health and implementing strategies to manage flare-ups, you can regain control and minimize their impact on your daily life. Remember to be consistent, prioritize self-care, and seek professional guidance when needed. Stay committed to your pelvic floor program, and with time, patience, and perseverance, you can achieve a better quality of life.