I have been working in Women’s Health physiotherapy for 10 years now and I never cease to be amazed by the number of women I see who have a real lack of awareness of the importance of their pelvic floor.
Research shows that in fact 1 in 4 women experience bladder weakness and even this is thought to be an underestimate. The problem is that bladder weakness is such a taboo subject so women often suffer in silence for years or don’t realise there is anything that can be done. Bladder weakness is a key consequence of weak pelvic floor muscles and, despite this, 75% of 16-24 year old women have never been shown how to locate or exercise their pelvic floor and 1 in 5 women don’t know what their pelvic floor muscles do.
I see so many young women with urinary leakage especially following the birth of their baby. They are so often horrified and embarrassed as they thought this was a problem reserved for ‘elderly women’. The most common form of urinary leakage I see is stress incontinence – when urine leaks out with coughing, sneezing, jumping or running. This type of incontinence is most common in young women (25-49 years of age) and is caused by a general lack of exercise of the pelvic floor muscles. Other causes include activities that result in an increased pressure on theses muscles and the bladder such as constipation, childbirth, heavy lifting and being overweight. Strengthening your pelvic floor by doing the exercises properly and regularly can really help to prevent and cure a weak bladder.
So… knowing how to do the exercises is key.
- The Pelvicore Technique DVD through www.corewellness.co.uk is presented by a leading expert in exercise science and physiotherapy called Professor Kari Bø and she guides you through exactly how to locate these muscles and how to exercise them.
- www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org is another source of useful information.
We all need to take care of ourselves and as women the pelvic floor is a really good place to start. Remember – if you don’t use it, you lose it!