The Most Common Question that Women Don’t Want to Ask Me
Not too long ago, I was at a conference on women’s health. In between sessions, all of us attendees were able to talk with specialists and ask any questions. There was one particular table that was surrounded. When I say surrounded, I mean there were so many women of all ages surrounding it that you would have thought they were giving away money. Obviously, I had to go see who was at the center of it. You’ll never guess! It was a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
Yup, she was probably the most popular person at the conference. I have to admit that this was one of the most useful 10 minutes of the conference.
If you’ve ever experienced slight bladder leakage when you sneeze or cough or if you’ve had more intense issues, you probably want to know what you can to do to help the situation. You also may be a little shy about asking. Don’t be. Sooooo many women of all ages have the same question and are a bit embarrassed to ask. To answer your question, yes, there is help. Strengthening our pelvic floor muscles is one tool that can make a big difference.
Though age and whether you’ve had children are big factors in the strength of our pelvic floor muscles, this can affect people of all ages and both genders. In fact, a study of 157 elite female athletes between 18 and 35 found that 28% reported some urinary incontinence.
A I said, often, women are embarrassed and don’t ask for help until things have advanced but the earlier we start, the better. Don’t worry, no matter when you start, you can see improvements at any time. In fact, as I was listening to the Physical Therapist talk, a former patient of hers walked by and said she changed her life. As I said, both men and women can benefit from increasing the strength of their pelvic floor muscles. I urge you to talk to your doctor if you’re having more serious challenges.
Today though, as a gift to all the women in our WellStyles community, I’m passing on the key takeaways from the conference. I hope this may help you and help to make you feel more comfortable to ask questions if you have any:
Kegel exercises help. The key is to make sure we’re doing them properly. Come to a standing position. Imagine that you are drawing your navel up towards your heart and feel your glutes engage as well. You should feel as if all of the muscles of your pelvis are lifting up. If you were looking in a mirror, you should not see your shoulders move. One way to check this is to insert a tampon. As you engage your muscles, you should see the string of the tampon lift up. Another way is to roll up a bath towel and then sit on it. As you engage your muscles, you should feel the entire area from back to front lift off the towel.
Wondering how many to do? Work up to doing 60 per day for 10 seconds. I know it sounds like a lot. But, spread them out through the day. Also, work up to doing 6 sets of 10 quick pulses. This way you train your muscles for endurance as well as the quick strains that are placed are on our muscles when we sneeze, cough or laugh really hard.
Go. When you have to go, try to avoid waiting too long as this places more strain over time. Also, I know it’s tough in a busy day but she stressed not to rush as you need to allow your muscles to relax so don’t “push” to hurry out the door.
Lifting. Before you lift your toddler, your dog, your groceries or strength training, always be sure to engage your pelvic floor muscles and your core muscles to avoid placing undue strain on the muscles.
As I said, this is an issue that people of all ages have asked me about over the years. Don’t be shy in talking about it. There is help! The sooner you start, the better.
That’s all for today!