There are an estimated 9 million women in the UK are suffering from some sort of bladder problem and as the population ages this problem is not going to go away. Bladder problems can happen for many reasons and sadly many women are suffering alone and are not seeking medical help.
Taboo topic aside, it’s time to get your pelvic floors into shape this New Year. Laugh, cough, run, sneeze, jump, every day events that can all cause embarrassing problems due to weakened pelvic floors which happen when the muscles that support the pelvic floor become weakened or damaged leading to embarrassing leakage. Childbirth, menopause, weight gain or just simply taking up high impact sport can all cause pelvic floor muscles to weaken.
Stephanie Knight, Principal Physiotherapist Women’s Health / Urodynamics says: “Pelvic floor muscle training is the leading treatment for stress incontinence recommended by the Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapist branch of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and by the National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE CG171 2013 Urinary Incontinence in Women).
Keeping the pelvic floor in shape with exercises alone takes time to achieve, but specialist pelvic floor physiotherapists trained in assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles will ensure that women exercise the correct muscles. There are so many benefits to putting pelvic floors up high on your list of New Year resolutions this year as it’s one of those awful things – you don’t realise how important those muscles are until they go!”
Physiotherapist, Comedian and as she calls herself ‘Recovered Incontinent’ Elaine Miller, AKA Gussie Grips is determined that January is all about restoring pelvic floors. A trained physiotherapist herself ‘had no excuse and did know better.’ Elaine urges women to put themselves first and restore their pelvic floors during January because there really are benefits to getting those muscles in shape.
Top five reasons to exercise pelvic floors:
Empowering women and boosting confidence. “It bloody MATTERS!. Incontinence quietly disempowers women” says Elaine. “As it interferes with every single thing they do, and yet, few complain. It matters because wetting yourself in the front row of Zumba, means you are unlikely to go back to Zumba so you pile on the pounds and feel even worse. Imagine the freedom of being able to cough, sneeze, giggle without wetting oneself!”
It has been reported that a healthy pelvic floor keeps more than just the internal organs in place. A strong pelvic floor creates a lifting action in the whole body. Imagine if it resulted in a natural facelift! Now wouldn’t that just be fabulous!
Strengthening those muscles can lead to increased sexual sensation for women on the orgasm front and also much better sex for your man – so, it’s a win-win all round!
Improving pelvic floor muscles can also help to improve a mild to moderate prolapse and may even help prevent a prolapse developing.
No matter how they advertise those pads it’s not sexy and it’s time to call a pad amnesty. The bottom line is it’s not normal and it’s empowering for women to restore their pelvic floors.
Yet keeping the pelvic floor in shape with self directed exercises can actually be daunting and frustrating for many women to do, particularly when results can be hard to detect. Up to 50 percent of women are unsuccessful when they are given verbal or written direction alone.1
Women’s Health Physiotherapist Gussie Grips suggests the following tips:
- Doctors are always advising us to give our pelvic floor a work out, but “working out” where it is in the first place can be a bit of a task. Squeeze the muscles around your back passage as if preventing wind from escaping then draw this feeling forward around the walls of the vagina and ‘pull up” inside.
- When you are contracting your pelvic floor muscles it should feel like you are not only squeezing them but also lifting them up. Don’t be tempted to squeeze your buttock or thighs or hold your breath, do exert little tension around the back passage as if you are trying to prevent yourself from passing wind.
- Elaine advises: “The important thing is to keep breathing and to relax your muscles in between the exercises. Do these three times a day, every day for three months and then at least once a day every day for the rest of your life!
- Your pelvic floor muscles now need to be used: Tighten them before and during any activity that makes you leak .e.g. a coughing, sneezing, lifting.
- There’s now personalised health technology for those taboo areas. Try PeriCoach, a new pelvic floor training device equipped with smartphone apps and web portals that can work with your physio enabling remote patient management, ideal for patients who are unable to attend physical therapy on a regular basis or live too far away to attend. PeriCoach measures the direct force of the muscles, it acts as your very own pelvic floor personal trainer and helps you manage and monitor your pelvic floor weakness, putting you back in control! PeriCoach can be ordered directly at www.pericoach.com priced £145.00 plus post and packaging.