Huge thank you to the wonderful Myra, senior Women’s Health Physio and creator of the Squeezy app for her brilliant Facebook Live on the MGF Facebook Page. It has full BSL interpretation for our Deaf friends.
I am a chartered physiotherapist specialising in pelvic health. My passion is to spread the word that incontinence, although common, is never normal and is often easily treatable. At least one in three women will experience incontinence of urine at some point in their lives. Some surveys suggest it could be two in three!
The main condition women are likely to experience is stress urinary incontinence, where a small amount of urine leaks out when you cough, sneeze, run and so on. This is usually due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles and is mostly caused by childbirth and pregnancy. It can also be caused or aggravated by a persistent cough or chest condition, smoking, excess weight or frequent constipation and straining to empty your bowels.
The most important thing to know is that it is not normal! Do not accept this as a new part of your life that you need to learn to live with. Go and see someone about it. There are physiotherapists who treat this condition working privately and in the NHS and your GP can refer you to the latter. Help yourself by keeping up with your pelvic floor muscle exercises, losing any excess weight and stopping smoking.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises can be surprisingly hard to get to grips with. Try using Squeezy App, which is based on the most up-to-date evidence we have on pelvic floor exercises. It can help you to remember them too, which is often one of the biggest problems. Pelvic floor exercises should be done three times a day to keep the muscles happy and healthy and up to six times a day if you have symptoms. However, it is important not to do them too much (ignore people who say do 300 contractions while you wash up, for example) as you can make them overactive and painful. Equally it is essential to make sure the muscles relax fully between contractions.
“Light bladder weakness” is advertised all over the place these days but the good news is that it simply doesn’t exist. Don’t listen to the adverts –take back control and get working those muscles. If that doesn’t do the job then go and see someone who will give you a full assessment, a personalised treatment programme and advice and who can teach you exactly how to do the exercises. Around 80% of stress incontinence can be cured with exercises and physiotherapy. There are further treatments available if this is not enough for your specific condition. Don’t be embarrassed – we have specialised in this area because we want to do it and are waiting to get you better – take the first steps today!
www.squeezyapp.co.uk – pelvic floor muscle exercise app
www.stressnomore.co.uk – selling cones, Incostress, pessaries and much more
www.kegel8.co.uk – electrical stimulation
www.evbsport.com – supportive sportswear
Pretty Clever Pants – protective pants
www.elvie.com – biofeedback
www.vibrancepelvictrainer.com – exercise support/biofeedback
www.pogp.csp.org.uk – pelvic, obstetric and gynaecological physiotherapy (guidance on how to find a physio)
www.stressfreewoman.com – Skype consultations
Pelvic Health physiotherapist
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