For too long, pelvic floor symptoms such as bladder leaks and discomfort during intimacy have been dismissed as “normal for women” or trivialized as “niche” issues affecting only those who are postpartum or post-menopausal. This minimization persists despite a lack of compelling data to highlight the extensive prevalence of these symptoms and their detrimental effects on individuals’ lives, making it challenging to garner the necessary attention from healthcare providers and insurers.

Pelvic health research has traditionally been sparse, with most studies only scratching the surface by reporting the lifetime prevalence of a select few symptoms. Origin, a pioneer in women’s pelvic floor and comprehensive physical therapy, has recently conducted a survey that challenges the outdated notion that pelvic floor concerns are exclusive to older demographics. This survey, targeting women aged 18-59, unveiled that millennials are equally, if not more, affected by pelvic health issues compared to Generation X women. Conducted in collaboration with Ipsos, this study provides much-needed insight into an area of women’s health that has been overlooked for a long time.

The findings are striking: eight out of ten women, predominantly millennials, grapple with pelvic health problems. The survey indicates that millennials report higher incidences of bladder urgency, frequency, and urinary leakage during physical activities such as coughing or exercising. They also experience more discomfort during sexual activities and challenges in achieving orgasm. Childbirth, whether vaginal or via C-section, emerges as the primary cause of recurrent leakage among this demographic, leading to muscle laxity and compromised core and pelvic floor muscle function.

Origin’s survey sheds light on the fact that millennials face greater challenges in bladder control, with symptoms like the persistent urge to urinate and the inability to completely empty the bladder. Over half of the respondents reported leakage triggered by coughing, laughing, or exercising, and a significant number of millennials struggle with pain during sexual activities and difficulties in reaching orgasm, more so than their Gen X counterparts.

Experts point to childbirth as the leading cause of stress urinary incontinence among millennial women. The resulting scar tissue from muscle and fascia damage alters the structural integrity of the abdominal pelvic region, causing abnormal pressure distribution and hindering the contraction of deeper core and pelvic floor muscles.

Addressing these issues head-on requires millennial women to seek specialized care from pelvic floor physical therapists. Experts suggest tailored treatment plans that include strengthening exercises, manual therapy, and lifestyle adjustments to enhance pelvic health and overall quality of life.

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