A lot of women assume that when they’re having issues with their pelvic floor that there’s something wrong with them physically. Something wrong in a way they can touch or feel.
And sometimes, that’s the case for sure.
For example, muscle strength plays an enormous role in the function of the pelvic floor.
But did you know that properly balanced hormone levels play a huge part in pelvic health as well?
In fact, your hormones are actually critically tied to muscular function, which dictates pelvic function.
Yes, your levels of estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones have a massive impact on your pelvic floor.
In many ways, our female hormones rule our health — they are completely fundamental to every system in our bodies. And the pelvic floor and urinary tract are no different.
How low levels of estrogen affect your pelvic floor
If you’re experiencing pelvic problems, it’s possible that a hormonal imbalance could be to blame.
Low levels of estrogen can cause real havoc for our lady parts.
Some of the common pelvic problems I see in women who have insufficient levels of estrogen are:
• Leaking issues — reduced levels of estrogen cause the urethra lining to thin, which is where women start to experience problems with overactive bladder and leaking during intercourse.
• Poor pelvic strength — when estrogen levels decrease, muscle strength follows suit. This is exactly why we have to work a little harder on our pelvic floor muscles to keep everything in order, especially after menopause.
• Burning in the vulva and vaginal dryness — these two are some of the most common issues in women with lowered estrogen. When estrogen levels drop…the tissues of the vagina and vulva become thinner. This leads to burning, itching, painful sex, and urinary incontinence.
Typically, women start to struggle with low estrogen when they are reaching menopause — but there are certainly plenty of women that experience the symptoms of low estrogen well before then, even in perimenopause and post-menopause.
Some of the other uncomfortable symptoms women experience when they have low estrogen levels include:
• Mood swings
• Hot flashes
• Migraines and headaches
• Brain fog
• Weight gain
• Difficulty sleeping
• Mood swings
• Memory problems
Estrogen is so critical to our well-being — and it’s responsible for giving us women our beautiful hips and breasts. It’s a hormone we desperately need and want. It’s just easy for it to get out of balance.
Due to an environment replete with endocrine-disrupting chemicals and a beauty industry that often encourages us to slather these same chemicals on our skin, estrogen levels can quickly go awry.
Other times, our estrogen levels are affected by diet, exercise, levels of other hormones, or even autoimmune disease and pituitary dysfunction.
It’s critical to uncover the issue that is the root cause of your hormonal imbalance and heal that rather than try to put a bandaid on the issue by taking hormonal birth control to try to treat the situation. Even HRT therapy does not fix the underlying issues.
How excess estrogen affects your pelvic floor
On the other side of the coin are high levels of estrogen.
This hormone can cause just as much trouble for women if it’s too high.
When your hormones aren’t in an optimal state, you may develop any number of issues that can potentially cause pelvic pain.
Excessive levels of estrogen, in particular, are associated with several conditions that have been known to cause pain for many women. These conditions include
• Ovarian cysts
Some of the other signs that you may be experiencing higher-than-ideal levels of estrogen include:
• Irregular periods
• Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
• Tender breasts
• Lack of sex drive
• Fibrocystic breasts
In short, too much estrogen circulating in your body can cause massive problems for you and your pelvic floor. This is why women MUST balance their hormones!
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to start balancing your hormones naturally!
Low testosterone levels and pelvic health
Did you know that women have an optimal level of testosterone too? That’s right; testosterone isn’t just for men.
I often find that women with unbalanced estrogen levels may also have lower testosterone levels. Also, women with hysterectomies or those in or approaching menopause may also have lower testosterone levels.
Just as estrogen plays a key role in muscle strength for women, so does testosterone.
So when testosterone dips, our ability to build muscle does too. And since the pelvic floor muscles are no different, we start to see atrophy of the pelvic floor in this instance.
Just like when estrogen is low, when testosterone is low, women start to experience a lack of muscle strength — which means an increased risk of prolapse and urinary incontinence.
Your pelvic problems aren’t just about your pelvis
Our pelvic floor is at the center and core of our being.
And nothing in our bodies exists in a vacuum.
Everything works together, in tandem, as a cohesive unit. If one system isn’t functioning at its best, other systems are in jeopardy as well. That’s why our hormones are so crucial to get just right and balanced. They touch our sexual and reproductive systems, yes, but they also affect our metabolism, how we sleep, our blood pressure, and our mental health. When we start to look at the ways our hormones affect everything in our bodies, we realize that getting them in balance and making sure our levels are optimal for the health of our pelvic floor and everything else is absolutely imperative.
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