by Annie James
A bit of essential leg-crossing when there’s no loo nearby? Not too keen on star jumps or sneezing bouts? The resorting to panty-liners to blot the odd leak? These are all signs that your pelvic floor muscles would like some attention, some action.
With age and especially following a vaginal delivery, the cradle of muscles around urethra (urine outlet) become less effective in contracting well and exercises may be all that’s required to make them effective again. The results can be seen quickly and the problem resolved. If you don’t know whether you’re using the correct muscles you can try stopping your urine flow mid-stream. This is not recommended as an exercise but will give you the correct sensation of ‘drawing up’ your pelvic floor and you’ll then be able to do it whenever you want.
Ideally do it at least 6 times, 2-3 times a day, and try and vary length of hold, and how high you feel you’re lifting. It shouldn’t be obvious to anyone that you’re doing the exercises so make sure you breath normally! I know it seems a lot of exercise for one lot of muscles but if you do them say, once at traffic lights, once lying in bed and once when cleaning teeth or waiting for a coffee, it’s a breeze.
Please note, if you don’t have an idea of how to do the exercise or the problems continue, do see your GP or a specialist Physiotherapist for advice and other treatment.
Believe me, you’ll enjoy a much happier older age if you keep these muscles active; improves enjoyment of sex too!
You will find everything you could ever want to know about incontinence and more if you download this brochure from the Continence Foundation of Australia.
Annie James is an adventurous spirit, who is passionate about women’s health. She has worked as a physiotherapist and also hikes and plays tennis.
Photo source: Social History Archives