We sit usually 12–16 hours a day. In the daytime an average woman is either sitting or walking to the next chair. Small breaks come from activities done in standing and the time spent in physical exercise. The main exception is mothers with young children.
Traditional sitting in traditional chairs creates a major genital health threat for women. The problems appear inside and outside the pelvic area. Sitting pressure blocks pressure-sensitive micro and macro circulation in the blood and lymph vessels, and also in lymph nodes. Circulation is the basic factor to metabolism and health. There are about 7.000 km of vessels in 1 kg of soft tissue, such as muscles, skin, and fat. Circulation is generated by movement and small differences in pressure.
Sitting affects the following internal main pelvic organs: ovaries, uterus, vagina, rectum, urethra, and bladder. They are all just a few centimetres under the skin, in the pelvic floor. Sitting pressure also has a very negative effect on the different tissues of the vulva.
The following health problems are connected with sitting:
- Circulation disturbances inside the pelvic area (varicose veins etc.). The chair padding creates pressure inside the pelvic area by pushing soft tissues (skin, fat, muscles, and connective tissue) into the area between the sitting bones. The pressure spreads inside and affects all the internal pelvic organs.
- Cancer. 24 % of all women’s, and 49 % of men’s, cancers occur in the pelvic area, within a space the capacity of which is just over one litre. Poor circulation and pressure disturb metabolism and make tissues sourer, which is known to be a cancer risk.
- Inflammations in vagina, bladder and urethra. Chair paddings increase the temperature and humidity in the vulva area, which helps the pathogens to grow. Poor circulation slows down the access of the white cells and other defenders to the area to destroy the pathogens that have slipped in through the skin. This way the inflammation gets a head start before the immune defense can stop it. Antibiotics are often used after this diagnosis.
- Problems with the pelvic floor muscles and rectum. When sitting on traditional chairs, we sit in a poor posture for most of the time. The weight of the upper body increases pressure in the abdominal cavity, which, in turn, is the biggest risk for the gynecological descend where all the internal pelvic organs slide downward permanently. Sitting pressure against the chair padding disturbs the normal functioning of the rectum because all the pelvic floor tissues, including the anus, are pushed up and the rectum remains in the pressure field.
- Pudendal nerve and vessel dysfunctions. These problems are most common amongst women who sit a lot on bicycle, horse saddle, or on a one-part saddle chair. The situation is even worse when the work requires leaning forward, like in dentistry and in laboratories. In such conditions changes in the circulatory system may be expected, and the sensitivity of the nerves is reported to have weakened.
It is likely that also endometriosis benefits from the conditions that exist during long term sitting. All local defenses are weakened due to the disturbed circulation in the area.