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The Crucial Link Between Nutrition and Pelvic Floor Health

In our practice here at Pelvic Path, we continue to find that nutrition is one of the root causes of the pelvic floor dysfunction that will bring clients into our office. Let us explain a bit more about how nutrition can affect this part of the body and how nutrition can be a root cause of the pelvic floor issues that we see on a daily basis.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor plays a crucial role in bodily functions such as urinary and bowel control, sexual function, and supporting pelvic organs. Weakness or dysfunction in these muscles can lead to various issues including incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and even sexual dysfunction.

Nutritional Considerations

  1. Hydration: It is very easy to get dehydrated, especially when considering the increased hydration nursing moms require, as well as our recent hot weather conditions. When the body is dehydrated, the urine becomes more concentrated, which can irritate the bladder, leading to urinary urgency and leaking. Dehydration can also be a primary contributor to constipation. Stool backed up in the rectum can push on the bladder, causing leakage. Bearing down to evacuate hard stools can lead to a tight pelvic floor, as well as prolapse or heaviness type symptoms. We encourage everyone to drink about 8 glasses of water, or half of their body weight in ounces, per day.
  2. Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats provides essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall muscle and tissue health, including those of the pelvic floor. A balanced diet helps promote normal bowel movements that pass easily. This is not only a sign of a healthy body, but keeps the pelvic floor muscles healthy as well.
  3. Maintaining Muscle Tone: Adequate protein intake is essential for muscle repair and maintenance, including the pelvic floor muscles. Lean meats, fish, legumes, and dairy products are excellent sources of protein. Protein is essential for recovery after exercise and should be consumed shortly after a workout.
  4. Supporting Connective Tissue: Collagen, found in foods like bone broth, gelatin, spirulina, and slow cooked meats supports the connective tissues within the pelvic floor, helping to maintain elasticity and strength. Collagen becomes essential to the diet during pregnancy because our bodies cannot synthesize enough collagen to meet the needs of the growing baby. New mothers who are recovering from childbirth and/or nursing continue to need collagen to promote skin elasticity and assist in recovering lost muscle.

Foods / Drinks To Incorporate

  • Hydration: We encourage our clients to sip fluids throughout the day, rather than drink a large amount quickly. Shaking a little salt into the water also helps with whole body absorption into the cells. Motivational water bottles that track how much you drink are a great tool to help get the right amount of liquid in during your busy days.
  • Smoothies: Starting the day off with a protein rich breakfast that also hydrates can be difficult, so we find smoothies to be a great breakfast. We like to include the protein in the form of a good quality protein powder, a dollop of nut butter, dairy or nut free milk, and berries and a handful of greens for fiber and flavor.
  • Flax Seeds: Some studies support ingesting flax seeds in the first half of one’s menstrual cycle to support hormone balance. Evidence also suggests that flax seeds can improve blood sugar control.
  • Fiber-rich Foods: Help prevent constipation, which can strain the pelvic floor muscles. Include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Add chia seeds for an extra boost.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, these fats help reduce inflammation, which can impact pelvic floor health and support general healing.

Conclusion

By maintaining a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, you can help prevent issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction and support overall pelvic health. Remember, small changes in your diet can make a big difference in the long-term well-being of your pelvic floor. So, next time you think about your diet, consider how it impacts not just your waistline, but also the core of your body’s strength and stability—the pelvic floor.

In our commitment to provide whole body treatment of pelvic floor disorders and identify the root cause of dysfunction, Pelvic Path now offers Nutritional Health Coaching services with Dr. Nicole Scheel. Head over to her bio or give us a call to learn more about these added services.
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Author

Dr. Marci Silverberg

MPT, PPCES- Owner and Founder

We help people feel confident and strong so they can return to the activities they love without leaking, pain or heaviness

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