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Your pelvic floor muscles are part of your deep core muscles consisting of: Transverse Abdominis, multifidus on your back, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Pelvic floor functions to stabilize the bottom of your “core canister” Any increase in pressure to the canister (from holding your breath, straining, or even just lifting a heavy load) creates forces for your pelvic floor to control. Urine, gas or bowel leakage with lifting generally is a signal that your pelvic floor muscles are not working optimally. Some problems could be:
Should you keep [lifting/running/insert desired exercise here] if you have leakage?
Yes and no- You absolutely should continue doing the exercise that you enjoy, and it is generally safe for women to continue with high intensity exercise even with leakage, but it is not normal to leak during activity. Specific exercises provided by a physical therapist can target the cause of leakage so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy without leakage or pelvic heaviness.
It is much less likely for men weightlifting to experience leakage, but without a high functioning deep core and pelvic floor, men are at much higher risk for hernia.
The most common hernias are umbilical (belly button) and inguinal (groin).
These occur when pressure in the abdomen (caused by straining, holding your breath, forceful coughing, or heavy lifting) pushes a portion of the intestine through a weak portion of the abdominal wall.
About the Author: Kristen Topliff, DPT is Pocatello's leading physical therapists specializing in Men's and Women's pelvic health. She is able to determine if your pelvic floor muscles aren't working optimally due to weakness, coordination or tightness. She offers a non-invasive free ultrasound screen and consultation for you to determine the next best step to take for your pelvic health.