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  • Writer's pictureEmily McAuley

Debunking Common Pelvic Floor Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

As the discourse on pelvic floor therapy becomes much more mainstream, there is more and more information available to those who are looking for answers about their symptoms. We love this! Here at Empower, we believe that knowledge is power and the real key to being able to advocate for yourself with medical professionals. However, just like any topic, the more information available, the more likely that some of that information may be incorrect or just not apply to you. While there are some general truths, there are also inherently individualized factors in the realm of pelvic floor therapy. Today, we are going to be starting a two-part series debunking some myths about the pelvic floor you may or may not have seen perpetuated online or even, unfortunately, in conversations with your provider. This is part one where we will be covering some general, people-based myths. Next time we will be debunking some symptom-based myths. So, without further ado, let’s get to busting some myths!


1.      Kegels are all you really need to eliminate your symptoms.


Don’t get us wrong, kegels can be a valuable tool in addressing pelvic floor dysfunction, but it is rarely, if ever, ALL that you need. Kegels, like any other muscular contraction, need to be done correctly to prevent injury, strain, or dysfunction. With 14-17 pelvic floor muscles (depending on which book you read), synchronicity when contracting is vital, and often absent. On top of that, most people we see here at Empower have too much tone along with weakness. The presence of too much tone tells us that some of the muscles are working overtime while others are slacking and would continue to do so if all we had our patients do was kegels. Addressing pelvic floor dysfunction often goes beyond kegels, and sometimes doesn’t include them at all.



External pelvic floor therapy.


2.      Only women who have had babies can experience pelvic floor dysfunction.


Pelvic floor dysfunction doesn’t discriminate based on parental status, age, or any other category; it can and does affect anyone. The factors associated with pelvic floor dysfunction go well beyond birth, vaginal or cesarean, and include things like childhood habits, tailbone injuries, pressure management, and even things like stress and anxiety. Sometimes people have pelvic floor dysfunction and don’t even know it because symptoms haven’t shown up yet. Yet. Whether you have had babies or not, are 25 or 52, are male or female, you can experience things like leakage with lifting, sneezing, or laughing, pain with intercourse, low back, hip, or tailbone pain, or a whole host of other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.


3.      All pelvic floor issues originate at the pelvic floor.


While pelvic floor dysfunction can originate at the pelvic floor, not ALL pelvic floor dysfunction does. Sometimes, the key factors involved in someone’s pelvic floor issues come from other areas of the body and only present at the pelvic floor. No one is just a pelvis, and almost everyone has dysfunction in some other area of the body. This is why it is so important for a pelvic floor therapist to look outside of the pelvic floor too. Considering what someone’s glutes are doing, what someone’s abdominals are doing, what someone’s back is doing, even what someone’s feet are doing can make or break the elimination of their symptoms long term. Getting to the root of someone’s pelvic floor dysfunction often involves addressing these external factors and how they are impacting the pelvic floor.



manipulation of the foot for pelvic floor therapy


4.      Only women experience pelvic floor dysfunction.


As we stated above, anyone can experience pelvic floor dysfunction. Men experience pelvic floor dysfunction just as often as women but often take much longer to get care. Once factor in this is the lack of available providers who specialize in women’s and men’s pelvic floor therapy. Another is stigma. The myth that only women experience pelvic floor dysfunction can leave men who are experiencing symptoms feeling alone in this situation. You are absolutely not alone, and there is absolutely something you can do. Whether it is urinary urgency or frequency, erectile dysfunction, hip or perineal pain, or constipation, pelvic floor therapy can help you find peace of mind and a better quality of life.


We hope you learned something new as you read this post and feel empowered by the truth surrounding these myths. In our technology driven world, we want to be sure that we can trust the people providing us with information. It can be so easy to see a 7 second reel and fall down a subsequent rabbit hole of misinformation. If you are looking for a source of truth - the good, the bad, and the ugly - in the realm of pelvic floor care, click here to follow us on Instagram or Facebook. If you want to be the first to know about updates, news, blog posts, and more, subscribe to receive our emails below. We know that empowered people, empower people so go and share what you’ve learned and spread the love. And stay tuned for the next four myths we will be debunking!




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