In short...a lot.
So let's start at the beginning...
What is fascia?
Fascia is a type of connective tissue. It runs continuously throughout the body in a three-dimensional web and it covers everything. It has become something of a buzz word, like it is a new-fangled thing, but John F. Barnes has been teaching about what it is and what to do with it for decades.
What is the pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor runs from your pubic bone to your tailbone, and from your sits bones side to side. It is comprised of three layers of muscles—within that lies all of your reproductive organs, digestive organs, blood vessels, nerves, etc. All of this is influenced by the fascia.
So how does this affect you?
Restrictions form in the fascia for many reasons: injuries, surgeries, traumas, stress, and posture to name a few—even your belief systems or pent up emotions. With everything being connected, a restriction in one area can pull you out of alignment anywhere. Locally, fascial restrictions create 2000 pounds per square inch of pressure on the structures that lie beneath, which often equates to pain.
In what ways does this appear?
It can show up in many kinds of pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain conditions. Incontinence (with pressure on the bladder), digestive issues (with tension in the gut and reduced space to eliminate), all kinds of inflammatory issues—interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, vulvodynia, fibroids, and the like. It can also play a role in pelvic organ prolapse and surgical scars—including hysterectomy, tubal, and episiotomy. Your PMS may also be made worse by fascial restrictions, as they do not allow your tissue to expand when you bloat, so cramping results. Likewise, it can even be impacting your fertility.
So, what can be done?
Have your pelvic floor assessed! Usually, when things go awry down there, people feel ashamed, don't want to talk about it, and go to Google for answers. The answer that most often pops up is kegels. While they are the exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor, they can be totally counterproductive if you have tightness, tension, and restriction. A lot of the symptoms of tightness can result in the same symptoms as weakness, so it is important to have that assessment before you start a self-treatment plan that could be making you worse!
Another thing to know about fascia is that it does not show up on any conventional tests—not x-rays, not MRIs, not any traditional scans. So when all of your test results come back negative, and you are told that there is 'nothing wrong with you', or you're 'just getting older', or you've had a baby 'so what can you expect'—be advised, there is still something you can do...
Get assessed to know what you are dealing with and know that treatment is available. You don't have to suffer in silence and live in pain, there are conservative treatment options that can be a viable solution.