Does Vitamin D actually have an effect on your pelvic floor function?

Recent health studies have shown that in women, the higher your vitamin D levels the lower your chance is of having a weak pelvic floor. Out of the women researched, nearly a quarter reported pelvic floor weakness and, regardless of age, those with incontinence had significantly lower vitamin D levels.1 On the hand, women over the age of 50 and didn’t have incontinence had a higher level of Vitamin D.

So how does vitamin D affect your pelvic floor?

Nutrition plays an important role in muscle function and for some time Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to poor muscle strength and loss of muscle mass. Vitamin D receptors are present in our muscles and therefore may have a direct effect on your pelvic floor muscles, so this is important information for those with incontinence.

Signs that you may have low vitamin D may include aching bones and excessive head sweating, however the only way to know for sure that you have low vitamin D is by having a blood test. Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun, and it is likely we are not getting enough sunshine in the winter. Here are five ways to help with your Vitamin D intake through nutrition:

  • Vitamin D supplements can help you get your daily dose. However it is important not to overdose on vitamin D and if you are unsure about how much you should be taking, speak to your doctor first.
  • Cod liver oil assists in keeping your bones healthy and also containing not only essential omega 3 fatty acids, but also vitamin D.
  • Eggs also contain some vitamin D and are a convenient way to keep topped up, as they can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eggs have many health benefits; however moderate intake is advised as they are also high in cholesterol.
  • Fish high in unsaturated fats such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are also good sources of vitamin D.
  • Some milk and juices may be fortified with vitamin D.

Vitamin D has many health benefits but is also important in assisting in pelvic floor health. If you think a lack of Vitamin D is affecting you and your pelvic floor, we recommend you speak to your doctor to check if you’re deficient and how you can increase your intake.

 

1) Badalian, S. and Rosenbaum, P. (2010) Vitamin D and pelvic floor disorders in women: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.