Not interested in breathing and your pelvic floor? Well, what if I told you hat the pelvic floor is the engine behind your orgasm …. and breathing is its partner in crime? Maybe I’ve got your attention now! Let’s delve a little deeper.

What is the link between breathing and the pelvic floor?

The main breathing muscle is the diaphragm. A natural synergy of movement exists between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. They move like dancers doing a waltz – always moving in the same direction, but doing opposite actions. Let me explain this in a little more detail:

As you breathe in your diaphragm should move down as it contracts and in synergy the pelvic floor should also move downwards as it relaxes. This creates a wave-like up-down-up-down-up-down motion that happens with every breath. The pelvic floor needs this soft constant contraction and relaxation to maintain good muscle length that is crucial for it to function properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good breathing lets the diaphragm and the pelvic floor move together in a natural up-down-up-down wave-like motion.

Watch this video by pelvic function physiotherapist Julie Wiebe for more on breathing and the pelvic floor.

What happens to the pelvic floor when you aren’t breathing the right way?

Breathing could be altered in many different ways – and most of them are not good! But, typically what happens is that the diaphragm does not do a good downwards motion with every in breath. It’s almost as if the breathing gets stuck in the upper portion of its movement. This leaves the pelvic floor without a dance partner! The pelvic floor doesn’t get a que to move downwards into the relaxation phase and is stuck in a slightly contracted position. 

Now – we all know what it feels like when we are furiously working at the computer to make a deadline. We’ve subconsciously pulled up our shoulders and are pretty much keeping them there – without realising it – until we become aware of the burning, tight pain in our upper shoulders and back!! I think you get the idea – that’s exactly what we do to our pelvic floor with poor breathing! 

Remember a little bit of contraction over a long time creates a lot of tension or pain.

How could poor breathing affect your pelvic floor?

Poor breathing creates increased tension or holding in your pelvic floor- this is called hyperactivity of the pelvic floor. It can cause all sorts of symptoms, like:

  • Pain with sex 
  • Poor quality orgasms
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary urgency and frequency
  • Getting up too much at night for a wee
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulty with urination or defecation

How can you get help with your breathing pattern?

A good breathing pattern is key to restore normal healthy function to your pelvic floor. There are usually reasons why your breathing pattern is not optimal. Things like: scarring, abdominal fascia tightness, motor patterning, holding habits, body image, previous surgeries and respiratory disorders – just to name a few! Pelvic floor physiotherapists are specially trained to help with this, you can find us on the MSH website

Let’s get you breathing for better orgasms! 

 

Written by Helen Henning 

My Sexual Health Team Member in the Western Cape

Pelvic Function Physiotherapist

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