An important way to promote or restore function and control of the pelvic floor is through the breath. Clenched abdomen and habitual breathing from the chest directly affects the pelvic floor, making it too tight/tense and "turned on" which can contribute to sexual pain. Shallow chest breathing also cues our bodies into the tensing, fight or flight mode of the nervous system (see previous blog).
Breathing is meant to come from the abdomen/diaphragm, not from the chest. If you've been taught by sports or cultural influences to suck in your abs and breathe from your chest you may need to re-train your body to breathe appropriately. Musculoskeletally, the respiratory diaphragm and the pelvic floor work together.
As you inhale .... the diaphragm lowers and the pelvic floor expands.
As you exhale... the diaphragm and pelvic floor return to their elevated positions.
Therefore, if you are constantly breathing from your chest, your pelvic floor never gets a chance to relax and expand. Mentally check into your breath pattern throughout the day to ensure proper breathing techniques. We go more in depth about how to do this in the DVD, Healing the Pain 'Down There': A Guide for Females with Persistent Genital and Sexual Pain.
Stephanie Yeager: Passionate about spreading the word of hope and healing for those like her, influencing a paradigm shift in the medical community toward greater understanding of chronic pelvic pain disorders, and prevention initiatives that may protect young women before onset can occur.