Your pelvic floor ladies … it’s time to address these poor old muscles … no it really is !
I have a theory, the more women I meet, what you can’t see you tend to ignore — true?! So here’s a simple diagram to make you realise how important your pelvic floor is and why we all, young and old, need to look after it (men too but that’s for another day!)
Ok, for those of you who have buried your heads for years and now know you need to find out more, as you can see from the diagram above, your pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles which attach from the pubic bone at the front through to the coccyx (tail bone) at the back. They provide support to your vaginal wall, and if working well should act automatically to help control your bladder and bowel … now you see how important they are …plus they help you feel more during sex...so better organisms...just saying! The key word to note here is muscle and muscles need exercising !
A great way of getting started with your pelvic floor exercises is to join a pilates or yoga class.
I come across many women who want to know that they are doing their pelvic floor exercises correctly. The easiest way to describe doing a pelvic floor exercise - tighten up the muscles around your back passage, as if you are trying to stop yourself from breaking wind, hold this squeeze and carry it through to your vagina and urethra as if you’re stopping yourself from passing urine. It should feel like you are tightening and lifting inside. It is definitely a knack and you need to work at your technique to make them worthwhile but do persevere...and don't clench your buttocks! Try and hold for a count of 10 making sure you relax inbetween each one — very important. It’s a good idea to do short sharp pulse ones as well.
It’s very important not to get disheartened, if you can’t initially hold for very long, remember these are muscles and if you haven’t exercised them for a long time the poor things are going to be in shock! Persevere.
Have you heard about the 'Squeezy' App (NHS) — absolutely brilliant, if you don't have it download it now from the app store either to your phone or computer. Written by Pelvic Health Physiotherapists it is such a useful app that explains everything you need to know about your pelvic floor, it has bladder diaries on there, a useful Q&A section, so much information and most importantly explains in detail how to do a pelvic floor exercise, plus has an exercise programme! Follow this link to see for yourself .
A lot of women say they fully intend to do their pelvic floors but just forget with the busy lives we lead — if that’s the case make sure you do them when you are doing something you unavoidably do every day, for example, boiling the kettle, having a shower…choose a time of day when the activity you are doing triggers your memory to do a pelvic floor. But more importantly make time to do them and do them properly!!
If you find you are really struggling either to do a successful pelvic floor exercise or if you are unfortunately further down the road and are suffering from stress incontinence, having the odd scoosh on sneezing...whatever your problem please go and see your GP and get referred to a specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist who will help you. They really are excellent in helping with pelvic floors and all urinary problems. There is a definite move medically towards regaining muscle control rather than immediately being referred to go down the surgical route.
Bladder and bowel community : https://www.bladderandbowel.org
Women's Health Concern : https://www.womens-health-concern.org
Pelvic and Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy : http://pogp.csp.org.uk
Elaine Miller : Humour and facts : http://www.gussetgrippers.co.uk
Any information is as accurate as possible at time of writing and is for information purposes only. The information and support that Let's Talk Menopause provides is for your own personal use. It is not intended to replace or substitute the judgement of any medical professional you may come in contact with. You should always seek advice from your healthcare professional regarding any medical condition.