There is a 1 in 3 chance that the woman reading this blog has a secret: incontinence (either stress, frequency, urgency or a combination of the three types). Chances are if she has confided in a friend the response was “I do too, it’s the price you pay for being a mum. There was this one time I laughed so hard I had to change my knickers.”
Is it common to leak? Yes. Is it normal to leak? No. Can something be done? Hell yes! The easiest time to gain control over this problem is when leaking begins, and before it spirals out of control. Currently 50% of women in old age homes are incontinent and quite often that is the only reason they are in an old age home. However, these numbers can change if we do something about it at an earlier stage in our lives, when treatment is still possible.
The pelvic floor muscles are a sling of muscles that form a figure of 8 that go around your front and back passage. They also support your bladder, bowel and uterus.
Initial leaking is called stress incontinence and caused by weakening of the muscles that keep urine stored in the bladder. It is no longer strong enough to withhold the pressure of the forces which push down from your abdomen when you laugh, sneeze, run or jump.
As the pelvic floor muscles have two different jobs of supporting and reacting to quick responses like a sneeze, they are made from two different fibres – slow twitch and fast twitch – and therefore it is important to exercise in two different ways.
Every woman should exercise three times a day for the rest of her life. This secret exercise should consist of two sets. This first set should be a quick contraction followed by a quick release and you should do 10 of these. The second set should be a contraction and holding it for 10 seconds followed by a slow release. This too should be repeated 10 times.
To test that you are doing this secret exercise correctly simply stop your urine mid flow. You should be able to stop your urine instantly, without tail-off. However, only use this test every other week. Only use the toilet to test that you are doing the exercises correctly and not for the exercises itself. If you are having problems and need additional help or you think you are doing these exercises incorrectly please contact me for an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0544485086.
Tamara May qualified as a physiotherapist in London and now lives in Elazar, Israel with her husband and 5 children. She has specialized in women’s health treating pregnancy conditions and pelvic floor conditions. In her spare time she teaches Ju-Jitsu and volunteers as a balanit in the local mikveh.