Eight ways to recognise you have issues with your pelvic floor

Posted on: 17 May 2017 by 50connect editorial

Dr Ruth Maher, pelvic floor expert, explains some of the main ways to recognise that you have issues with your pelvic floor muscles.

Women jumping

The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. They run from the frontal pubic bone to the coccyx at the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin the pelvic floor holds the all-important pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) in place and supports the bladder to provide control when you wee. A strong and healthy pelvic floor will help improve your posture, help prevent leaks and flatulence, and can even improve sensation during sex.

A weak pelvic floor is the primary cause of urinary incontinence; in women this is typically as a result of pregnancy, menopause or high impact sports, and can also be linked to an increased BMI. Women can suffer from stress incontinence, urge incontinence or a mixture of the two: stress incontinence describes the type of accidental leakage that can occur as a result of simple everyday activities including coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping or doing heavy lifting. Urge incontinence is the term used to describe a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, often with little warning.

The great news is that pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened and restored; women do not need to ‘accept their lot’ and suffer embarrassing leaks. By strengthening the pelvic floor and focusing on muscle balance, women can tackle the cause of the issue rather than just managing their symptoms. No-one should have to suffer from urinary leakage when there is a solution out there. So what are the symptoms?

Not reaching the toilet in time

Urge incontinence occurs when you have a sudden urge to wee and can’t make it to the loo in time before you start to leak. In urge incontinence, the bladder contracts when it shouldn’t, causing some urine to leak through.

Toilet sign

Incomplete emptying of the bladder

When the bladder can’t completely empty, it is known as “retention” of urine, which is also associated with urinary frequency and a condition known as overflow incontinence. Some people can feel that they haven’t emptied their bladder properly, others won’t even realise until leakage occurs. It is most likely that the pelvic floor is not relaxing properly – to function properly, the muscles should fully contract and fully relax.

Accidental leakage

Stress incontinence describes the type of accidental leaks that can occur during simple everyday activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping or doing heavy lifting. These simple movements put pressure on the bladder and, should your pelvic floor muscles be unable to tighten enough, will cause an involuntary leak.

Pain in the pelvic area

Pelvic pain can occur due to tension or problems with the pelvic floor muscles. This can also be a sign of infection, so you should always consult your doctor if you are feeling any pain.

Loss of sensation during sex

It has been suggested that those that can activate their pelvic floor – i.e. can effectively squeeze and relax the muscles – will experience increased sexual satisfaction and more intense orgasms. Alternatively, those with a weakened or damaged pelvic floor may experience a loss of sensation.

Leaking during intercourse

A large proportion of women with incontinence will experience leakage during sex. Sexual activity can put pressure on the bladder or urethra. Combined with a weak pelvic floor, the pressure can cause leakage.

Women with back pain

Poor posture or backache

If you suffer from poor posture or backache, it could be a sign of a weak pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor supports the entire core, for a strong midsection, flatter tummy and better posture.

Accidentally passing wind

Accidentally passing wind or the inability to hold it in is another sign of a weakened pelvic floor. The pelvic floor supports the bowel as well as the bladder.

What can be done about it?

Many women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises like ‘Kegels’, or may opt for more ‘intrusive’ solutions like many internal devices or even surgery. Exercises are reliant on ‘doing it right’ – which for many is the problem – they can’t pinpoint and activate their pelvic floor so the exercises don’t always work if they are not being done correctly.

Taking an entirely different approach to the challenge, Innovotherapy sends targeted impulses via a set of conductive pads placed on your thighs and buttocks, to safely and effectively activate the muscles of the entire pelvic floor. It is a clinically proven technology which has been designed to optimally strengthen your pelvic floor, allowing the device to do the job for you, with 180 full contractions completed per session. You can feel your entire pelvic floor muscles being activated without having to do anything at all, leaving no room for error.

For further information on pelvic floors and Innovotherapy, visit INNOVO

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