Do you have weak pelvic floor muscles?
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 must walk away. Laughing and peeing has 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.
Weak Pelvic Floor Facts
The most obvious symptom is bladder leakage while coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any jarring motion such as running and jumping.
- Needing to go to the toilet often
- Not getting to the toilet in time
- Accidentally passing wind
- Finding it difficult to go to the toilet
Slack pelvic floor muscles are not necessarily caused by childbirth although long labour would overstretch the muscles possibly weakening them.
Other causes could be:
- supporting the weight of the uterus during pregnancy
- chronic constipation and associated straining to pass motions
- constant coughing
- lower levels of oestrogen after menopause
- general movement in the pelvis as we age
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!
You first need to identify the muscles so you know how to contract 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 putting two fingers into your vagina and opening them like scissors and squeezing them 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 and 6 times slowly and holding for 5 seconds before releasing slowly.
It is important that you do these exercises correctly. To ensure this seek medical advice from your doctor or physiotherapist.
Reduce symptoms in other ways
- Lose weight
- Eat a diet high in fibre 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.