Pelvic floor dysfunction on the rise!
While there are many great things about being female, our anatomy combined with our upright, two-legged posture puts us at a significant disadvantage when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) compared to men. Even before becoming pregnant and giving birth! For example, our higher incidence of urinary incontinence can be somewhat attributed to the much shorter distance from the bladder to the outside world (via the urethra). The female pelvis is also wider and therefore has more space for our organs to descend eg. prolapse (Thanks a lot gravity).
Unfortunately I do not have any statistics for Canada and Australia, however recent literature has shown that within the USA alone, the incidence of pelvic floor dysfunction is going to rise from 28.1 million WOMEN in 2010, to 43.8 million in 2050 (1). Firstly that is a huge number in 2010 (roughly around 18% of the female population) and the predicted increase is even more troublesome. While I'd probably never be out of a job, I'd much rather help prevent the numbers from rising so high in the first place. Hence blogging. These significant numbers lead me to think that there is something that we are all doing that is putting our bodies at risk. I believe that our sedentary lifestyle and sitting so much is contributing to this rise. It is only recently that as a species, particularly within western cultures, we have physically moved so little during our waking day. Is it a luxury or a curse? Think about how much you sit in a day. I know I sit to eat, to commute, for leisure, for work (not too much luckily since I'm up and down, treating and demonstrating exercises most of the day) and I have definitely noticed more issues with my pelvic floor and tailbone pain after long international flights (eg. the 20+ hours between Aus and Canada). So without further ado, lets look at things you can change immediately to decrease your personal risk of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.. in the next post! (1) Wu, JM., Hundley, AF., Fulton, RG. & Myers, ER., Forecasting the prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women: 2010 to 2050. Obstet Gynecol, 2009, Dec, 114(6), p.1278-83.