Pelvic floor muscle exercises? They make sense!
Many women think it’s normal to have problems with their waterworks, but actually it’s not (even though it is quite common). Other women argue that pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFM Exercises) don’t work, even though this is often because they are not doing them correctly. Or they think they are too old to do them, or that it’s too late (it’s never too late to benefit from doing PFM Exercises!) And no, you don’t need to be able to get down onto the floor to do them! The ‘floor’ referred to is purely the muscular undercarriage forming the ‘floor’ of the pelvis. In fact some women don’t know where their PFMs are or how to tighten them. It’s hardly surprising. It’s such a taboo subject, and some women are simply too embarrassed to ask for help.
As up to one in three women will experience urinary incontinence during their lifetimes, it makes sense to do PFM Exercises. Drinking less or going to the toilet more frequently will only make it worse.
Why bother? - you may ask. The PFMs play an important role in keeping you dry. Basically they wrap around the outlets to your bladder and your bowels and hold on tight to stop you leaking. When you cough, sneeze, exercise or feel that overwhelmingly urgent need to go to the toilet, they have to work even harder to keep the floodgates closed. There’s such good evidence that strengthening the PFMs works, that government health guidelines recommend a course of supervised PFM Exercises as the first-line treatment for urinary incontinence. Recent evidence also shows that PFM Exercises are more likely to be effective when women are taught to do them by a suitably trained healthcare professional.
I am an experienced women’s health physiotherapist who specialises in treating women with problems related to their PFMs. Treatment is not just about PFM Exercises but also includes advice on lifestyle, diet and fluid intake, exercise and good bladder and bowel habits. Given the intimate nature of the subject, confidentiality is guaranteed throughout.
Don't suffer in silence. If you have a problem, then now's the time to take action and regain control.
Vicky Keates MCSP