Pelvic Floor Weakness is not OK!

Published August 02, 2013

Have you experienced bladder or bowel weakness? You are NOT alone…

Nearly 600,000 people in New Zealand are affected, and yet many will not seek help. Perhaps it’s because they’re embarrassed or maybe the companies advertising pads make it seem quite normal. Let me assure you it’s not normal, it is common, but not normal.

Unfortunately, many people have stopped exercising as they’re concerned that they may ‘leak’ during a session. While this is a valid concern, it can be resolved, in most cases, with pelvic floor exercises.

Risk factors for developing a weak pelvic floor include:

• Pregnancy & childbirth
• Constipation or persistent straining
• Ageing
• Obesity
• Menopause / hormonal changes
• High impact sports
• Heavy lifting or very physical work
• Hyper mobile joints
• Genetic factors
• Pelvic surgery

Indicators that you may have pelvic floor problems:

• Accidentally leaking urine during exercise, playing sport, laughing, coughing or sneezing
• Needing to get to a toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time
• Constantly needing to go to the toilet
• Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
• Accidentally losing control of your bowel
• Accidentally passing wind
• A prolapse
• In women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping
• In men, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go
• Pain in the pelvic area
• Painful sex
• Poor sensation or leaking during sex

The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel in men, and the bladder, bowel and uterus in women. They also help maintain bladder and bowel control and play an important role in sexual sensation and function.

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is not an option, it’s a necessity. Speak to a fitness professional or women’s health physiotherapist today, about prescribing you a pelvic floor safe exercise programme.

Estelle Williams, Functional Fitness.