Ah yes, the sun has started to shine, the kids are outside on the trampoline with dad. And the moms? Safely sitting inside with an eye on the nearest loo.
The secret reason us moms like to sit and chat rather than bounce around in our Sunday best is to avoid the dreaded leaking.
Most women have experienced some form of urinary incontinence over their lifetime. No incontinence is normal and almost all incontinence will improve with a little physio. Our bladder and internal organs are supported by a band of pelvic floor muscles and like any other muscle, they become weak over time. When the muscles of the pelvic floor become weak they cause us to leak urine in response to small stresses. These stresses can be running, jumping, coughing and sneezing, or even as simple as rising up from sitting. The pelvic floor muscles work against gravity to keep our internal organs in position and they are affected by traumas such as surgery and childbirth and weaken in response to hormonal changes such as menopause.
Luckily, like any other muscle, the pelvic floor can be strengthened-which increases the support given to the bladder and womb. Strengthening the pelvic floor involves simple exercises that you can do in bed, at the office or even sitting in the car. You don’t even need the latest neon gear or expensive equipment to get started. It’s all about the squeezes! Lying down or sitting, tighten around your back passage as if trying to stop yourself passing wind, pull that tightness forwards as if you are pulling a zip towards your belly button. Hold for 5 seconds. That’s it! You’ve just done your first proper pelvic floor exercise. You are already on the road to a “dryer” life. Start doing 10 of these twice a day and changes will happen quicker than you could ever imagine.
If you would like some help, then that’s my job. A Chartered Physiotherapist that specialises in women’s health will assess the function of your pelvic floor. This will determine the reasons why you are having difficulty. Together we can set goals to treat and change the problems while working together to strengthen that important band of muscles.
Caroline O’ Connell is a Chartered Physiotherapist with specialist training in Women’s Health and Incontinence. Appointments with Caroline are available by phoning 052 7445477. Her full biography is available here.