It is important to remember that the pelvic floor is requested daily in its continence functions and to support pelvic organs. Imagine it like a 3 dimensions structure which adapts to our movements and breathing.
According to the sport, the pelvic floor is more or less required. Sports like cycling, swimming etc., have a small impact on the pelvic floor. Sports of impact however, like running, request the pelvic floor much more. Problems can come on in the long term.
To avoid unwanted urinary leaks, the closure pressure of the sphincter has to be higher than the pressure that the urine applies to come out.
During big abdominal contractions, the belly pushes on the bladder and the sphincter can’t retain the urine. While running, leaks don’t come right away. The sphincter muscles get tired and become less effective.
The pelvic floor supports the bladder, the uterus and the rectum. With the repetitive chocs, these muscles and supportive ligaments can loosen up, and not correctly hold these organs which makes them fall in the vagina: it is a prolapse. Impact sports favor prolapses.
Urinary leaks affect 52% of female athletes. A study from 2002 indicates that 11% of woman are affected by a prolapse along their life.
What are the solutions?
There are a lot of solutions that must be discussed with health professionals and adapted to sports, to the level of the practice and to the importance of the problem.
It is an intravaginal dispositive which maintains pelvic orgasms in the right place. Easy to put in, this solution is the easiest to implement.
Globally, rehabilitation (or reeducation) makes us be conscious of our pelvic floor and strengthens it. It can be done in a reeducation office or at home (with solutions such as Emy) and prevents the arrival of urinary leaks and prolapses.
Surgery is the last solution. It can be done to replace the organs in case of a prolapse, but it can also be done to install surgical mesh (a medical dispositive that helps supporting organs).
*Thyssen HH, Clevin L, Olesen S, Lose G. Urinary incontinence in elite female athletes and dancers. Int Urogynecol J. 2002;13(1):15– 7.
**Source : https://www.ameli.fr/assure/sante/themes/prolapsus-genito-urinaire/comprendre-prolapsus-genital
Article written by Paul Grandemange, physiotherapist and co-founder of Fizimed.