This Is What A Urogynecologist Eats To Support Her Pelvic Floor
While pelvic floor health may be commonly associated with older age and pregnancy, it actually affects everyone—regardless of age or gender at birth. In an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast urogynecologist and pelvic floor expert Betsy Greenleaf, D.O., explains "the pelvic floor is all the muscles and nerves and organs that make up our lower abdomen." And one of its primary jobs: holding in urine, gas, and stool. These are things we'd all like control over, no?
Now that you're convinced of the value, you may be wondering how exactly you can strengthen and support your pelvic floor muscles. According to Greenleaf, one great place to start is your diet. Here are her four go-to foods for a healthy pelvic floor:
OK, water isn't a food, but Greenleaf seriously stresses the importance of staying hydrated. "One of the most basic things you can do, other than eating healthy and sleeping, is making sure you're getting enough water in your body," she says.
If you're not drinking adequate amounts of water, this can affect digestion speed, which puts pressure on your pelvic floor, she explains.
Fruit and vegetables
As Greenleaf points out, one of the key elements to a balanced lifestyle is limiting processed foods and prioritizing more whole foods, like fruits and vegetables—but "mainly vegetables," she notes, "because of the fiber."
Fiber-rich foods feed the good bacteria in the gut, allowing them to flourish and proliferate. "Our gut is so connected to our other organs…especially the pelvic floor," Greenleaf says.
A combination of ultra-hydrating and fiber-rich, chia seeds are not to be missed when it comes to a healthy pelvic floor. Greenleaf considers chia seeds one of her favorite fibers, and she recommends adding them to smoothies. (We like this gastroenterologist's gut health smoothie, if you're lacking inspiration.)
"Fermented foods do great, not only for intestinal health but pelvic health," Greenleaf states. So, whether you're sipping on kombucha or making homemade sourdough (yes, sourdough is technically a fermented food), "you definitely want to include them in the diet every day," she says.
While exercising is a common way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, diet can also play a major role. Eating foods that promote regularity and support a healthy gut microbiome are key assets in pelvic floor health. So, next time you're filling your plate or your cup, make sure to include some of Greenleaf's suggestions.
Want to level up your gut health routine even further? Consider adding a high-quality probiotic supplement, like mindbodygreen's probiotic+. The supplement contains four unique probiotic strains clinically shown to help maintain key daily functions of the digestive system.*
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.