Maintaining a Healthy Pelvic Floor: Tips and Insights from a Urogynecologist 

A person at a doctor appointment.

Brittany Mahomes, wife of three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is a mother of two who recently urged women to take care of their pelvic floor in an Instagram story.

In the story she states, “Just a daily  reminder: Once you have kids, please take care of your pelvic floor. Seriously.” Ending her  message with “From: a girl with a fractured back.” 

Brittany has quite a curious following, with 1.9 million asking her opinion on running a business, physical therapy, motherhood, her  preference for diapers, diaper bags, co-sleeping, teething and childhood allergy food safety. When she urged her following of mamas to seek preventative care, it started an awareness that has gained a lot of attention.  

While the details of Mahome’s fractured back aren’t known, there are thousands of responses to  the post, with professionals stating that fracturing your back due to a weak pelvic floor is  typically rare. But how do mothers and aging women care for and maintain their pelvic floor? Local Promedica physician Nadine Kassis, M.D. of Urogynecology shares some important information on pelvic floor health.  

Dr. Nadine Kassis explains, “The pelvic floor includes the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue in the deep pelvis that provide support to a woman’s internal organs, including the bowel,  bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. Pelvic floor disorders occur when the pelvic muscles and connective tissue are weakened by childbirth, aging, genetics,  repetitive straining, and chronic disease.”

According to Kassis, pelvic floor disorders, such as pelvic organ prolapse, overactive bladder, leakage of urine or stool and pain with intercourse, affect millions of American women of all ages. One in five women will undergo surgery for prolapse or urine leakage in their lifetime

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“It’s a common misconception that these disorders are ‘a normal part of aging’ and that the only option is to suffer in silence. The good news is that these conditions  are often treatable. Urogynecologists are specialists in managing pelvic floor  disorders and are also specially trained in performing minimally invasive pelvic reconstructive surgery. If you are affected by these problems, a referral to a urogynecologist can and should be considered,” Kassis said. 

Kassis shared that a urogynecologist can provide a variety of options to relieve or resolve symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. 

“Simple changes and interventions such as dietary modification and pelvic floor exercises can significantly impact daily quality of life. Other conservative treatment options  include pelvic floor physical therapy, vaginal devices, also known as pessaries, and  medications. In addition, if necessary, there are also safe and effective surgical  treatment options, such as minimally invasive procedures for prolapse and urinary  incontinence,” Kassis said.

Kassis urges anyone suffering from a pelvic floor disorder to get evaluated and learn about the possible treatment options.

“Knowledge is power; the more you know, the more confident  you will be in directing your treatment,” Kassis said.

Tips for maintaining a healthy pelvic floor

Make sure to get enough fiber and drink plenty of water to avoid hard stools and straining due to constipation.  Connective tissue, like in the pelvic area, can be damaged with the use of nicotine. caffeine,  alcohol, nicotine as mentioned previously, highly processed foods, artificial colors and  sweeteners can irritate the bladder, increasing the chances of urinary infections or urinary  incontinence. 

Regular pelvic floor muscle exercises such as Kegels can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, support pelvic organs and control incontinence of urine and bowels. Taking care of yourself and having regular, routine checkups with your physician will keep you healthy and  active and able to keep up with your growing family comfortably.