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I love a good laugh as much as the next person and when my sister comes to stay we do a lot of laughing. Lately, though I find I have to walk away. Laughing and peeing have become a problem. Visions of me being identified the minute I enter a mall and shadowed by a cleaner in dark clothes and sunglasses holding a mop and bucket haunt my nightmares.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of having strong pelvic muscles.
This is especially true for women after menopause, as weakened muscles caused by childbirth, aging and now menopause can lead to problems like urinary incontinence and even prolapse.
Today I’m going to share with you some tips that have helped me strengthen my pelvic floor and regain my confidence. Keep reading to learn more!
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What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles?
They are a group of muscles located in the lower pelvis that stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone.
They keep the pelvic organs in place, support the spine and pelvis, aid in controlling flatulence and urine flow, and provide sexual sensations.
What Causes Weakness In Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Aging is the number one cause of these muscles becoming weakened.
Postmenopause can also contribute to these muscles becoming weakened due to hormonal changes that can cause tissues to thin.
Childbirth, obesity, chronic coughing and heavy lifting are other factors that can contribute to the weakening of these muscles.
Signs that your pelvic floor is weakened
Pelvic muscle vitality affects your bowel, bladder, and vaginal health. Of course, there are degrees of muscle strength or weakening.
The most obvious sign is urinary incontinence while coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any jarring motion such as running and jumping. More seriously pelvic organ prolapse, or bulging due to weak muscles.
Other signs are:
- Needing to go to the toilet often
- Urinary tract infections
- Not getting to the toilet in time
- Accidentally passing wind
- Finding it difficult to go to the toilet
- Incomplete emptying of your bladder
How menopause can affect your pelvic floor
Besides all of the other possibilities that can cause pelvic floor dysfunction, women in menopause have one more thing to add to the possibility that their pelvic floor muscles become weak or worse redundant.
Hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause can make your pelvic muscles thinner and weaker.
These may result in:
- Discomfort associated with bladder prolapse is called a cystocele, or a prolapsed rectum which is a rectocele; prolapse is a bulging or falling out of a body part.
- An onset or increase in bladder infections as the urethra tissues atrophy, becoming more sensitive to harmful agents
- Urinary incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse
What to do if you notice any of these symptoms?
If you are concerned about changes go and see your medical practitioner.
Do you ever go to the doctor and they ask when does this occur or how often does that happen? But you can’t remember.
This is why it is a good idea to record what your experiencing, when and how often so that you have exactly the information the doctor needs when you go to see them.
Improving the strength of your pelvic floor
There are fortunately things you can do at home to help. But be warned for exercises to work it takes consistency.
And some good news. The stronger your pelvic floor muscles the flatter you stomach muscles will be and the better your posture will be as your hips and spine will be supported and staying in a neutral posistion.
So lets get to exercising…
Pelvic floor exercises
You first need to identify the muscles so you know how to contact them.
When you are peeing try stopping mid-stream. This is the muscle you need to wake up.
Imagine stopping yourself from breaking wind. The muscle you use here is another we need to work on.
Imagine squeezing something like a pair of tongs back together.
The overall exercise to concentrate on is imaging trying to suck the water from a sponge up into your vagina. You will be contracting all the above muscles together in one go.
Do 6 times quickly. Then 6 times slowly, holding for 5 seconds before releasing slowly.
You must do these exercises correctly to ensure you are targeting the right muscles. Seek medical advice from your doctor or specialist physiotherapist.
Yoga is a mindful practice so it can reduce stress which can be a contributing factor in stress incontinence. Various poses can also help strengthen your pelvic floor so it’s a win-win.
See a pelvic floor, physical therapist
Consider seeing an incontinence physiotherapist who can show you how to do pelvic floor muscle training.
Reduce symptoms in other ways
- Lose weight
- Eat a diet high in fiber to reduce constipation
- If you are coughing constantly seek help from your doctor
Despite the light nature of this post peeing and passing wind when you don’t want to is no fun. If you suspect you have weak pelvic floor muscles do something about it now rather than later to hopefully avoid the possibility of surgery which is often not a satisfactory fix.
Your pelvic floor health is an important part of
We want a trampoline, ladies, not a hammock. I am not overly keen on the trampoline analogy as it firmly puts the image of someone jumping hysterically on my pelvic floor. NOT NICE!