9 Summary of Session 4
You should now have an understanding of the anatomy of the female pelvic floor, its purpose, and the impact it can have when it does not function correctly. You should also have an understanding of how training can improve its function and why athletes may be more at risk of pelvic floor dysfunction.
The main learning points of this fourth session are:
- The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles and ligaments that cover the floor of the pelvis between the coccyx and pubic bone.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause urinary incontinence, urge incontinence and pelvic pain.
- Urine leakage can occur when exercise places increased pressure on the pelvic floor and when sneezing, laughing or coughing.
- Exercising females are up to three times more likely to experience urinary incontinence.
- Athletes in sports involving running, jumping and quick changes in direction are most likely to experience urinary incontinence.
- Active females may experience pelvic floor dysfunction due to the increases in the forces applied to the pelvic floor during training or because the pelvic floor muscles become too strong and inflexible.
- Pelvic floor exercises should be done at least once a day by all women and more if you’re experiencing symptons.
- Pelvic floor exercises should involve slow and fast movements to activate all muscle fibre types.
You are now halfway through the course. The Open University would really appreciate your feedback and suggestions for future improvement in our optional, which you will also have an opportunity to complete at the end of Session 8. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.
In the next session, you will explore breast health and the importance of finding correctly fitting breast support.
You can now go to Session 5.