Function Pelvic Floor Muscles | How to improve pelvic floor
Monday, 13 July 2020
Emma James Blog #1 : Your Pelvic Floor Health and You
Both menopause and it's annoying little sister perimenopause can bring problems associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. Menopausal years usually runs at any point between 45-55 years. Perimenopause however can occur for many years before this while women are still having monthly cyclesperiods. It's also possible for some women to go through an early menopause which means that they could experience symptoms from a much younger age - joy!
What are Pelvic Floor Muscles and why do they matter?
Think of your pelvic floor muscles as a broad sling of muscles, like a trampoline which stretch from the pubic bone at the front of your pelvis right the way to your coccyx (tail bone) at the back. These muscles form the floor of your pelvis and are responsible for :
- Cushioning and supporting your pelvic organs - bladder, bowel and womb
- Controlling your bladder, bowel and sexual functions
How does our age affect muscle strength in the pelvic floor?
As we approach menopause, we begin to have reduced levels of oestrogen which can cause thinning of the lining of the urethra. The urethra is the short tube which passes urine from the bladder out of the body. Moreover, the surrounding pelvic muscles can also weaken as we age in a process known as "pelvic relaxation." As a result of these two factors, women from mid 40's onwards are at increased risk, or worsening of pre-existing, stress and urge incontinence.
What symptoms or issues might we experience from poor pelvic floor health?
Women's problems and health 'down below' are often a taboo subject. Lots of women are too embarrassed to seek help or advice. Others just don't know where to turn in order to find that advice.
Pelvic floor stress incontinence is by far most common form of incontinence. It happens when your pelvic floor muscles have weakened which means you leak a bit of wee when pressure is increased on the bladder such as when coughing and sneezing or during exercise. Because this is caused by weakness, it's absolutely possibly to treat pelvic floor stress incontinence simply by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor training. A cracking 60% of cases can be cured or dramatically improves by exercise alone!
How to strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles
Firstly, to engage your pelvic floor muscles, and train your pelvic floor you should...
- Imagine you are having a wee and trying to stop mid-flow
- Once you are feel confident that you're using the right muscles you should aim to hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat x 10 times. These are called 'slow Kegels'.
- After that, using the same principle, engage your pelvic floor muscles and hold for just 2 seconds, relaxing and repeating 10 times. These are called 'fast Kegels'.
- Aim to repeat this process of fast and slow Kegels for 5 minutes or 10 sets and do this a minimum of three times per day. As you become stronger you can increase the hold of the 'slow Kegels' to 10 seconds.
What else can I do to support pelvic floor exercises?
Experiencing urinary incontinence (leakage) should not be accepted as normal at any point in a woman's life and is, in most cases, fixable.
You are not alone.
There are options available to you.
Through the use of kegel weights and tools such as Pelviva, Secret Whispers and PelviPower, menopausal incontinence can become a thing of the past and need not be in your life any longer. You have the power to do something about this!
We understand that while it is happening to you, it can be debilitating, and embarrassing.
Bearing this in mind there are products, such as those from the Cheeky Pants pee and period protection range of pads, liners and pants which can help your menopause incontinence be plastic free, eco-friendly and cheaper! Buying plastic pads or pants should become a thing of the past!
Their affordable range of discreet, comfortable products mean that while you do your pelvic floor rehab training against incontinence, you still feel as comfortable as possible and can get on with your life.
To find out more about why and how we're partnering with Emma James Physio and Wellbeing, read our announcement blog here : https://www.cheekypants.com/blog/no-more-oops-moments-with-cheeky-wipes-and-emma-james-physio-and-wellbeing.html
Shop the Cheeky Pants incontinence range here and visit Emma at https://www.ejphysio.co.uk/ for more information and tools to support you through this time.