We don’t talk about wee leakage much with our girlfriends. It’s not really thought to be a topic of ‘polite conversation’. But we really should, because despite the apparent taboo, 1 in 3 women aged 35 and over suffers from light bladder leakage. If we talked about it, perhaps we would do more about it!
It’s Not Just About Leaking
If you don’t deal with your leaky undercarriage, you may have more to worry about than changing your underwear…
- Sex could be less pleasurable and uncomfortable
- Future pregnancies may cause greater trauma
- The weakness and related issues may result in a prolapse or hernia
Wee leakage is a ‘red flag’ – a sign that shouldn’t be ignored, no matter how embarrassing you find it, it’s essential to face up to the problem and get cracking on finding a solution before the situation gets worse.
It’s Not ‘Normal’ and It’s Not ‘OK’
If you leak, wet yourself or worse when you run, jump or workout – then your body is telling you something. Its telling you that it is not working right. So if you can’t run without leaking, then really, you shouldn’t be running right now. If you can’t hold on during boot camp – you shouldn’t be doing boot camp. Don’t make this a battle against your body – I know you so want to be ‘back to normal’ again, you want to run again, or to lose the weight, to get fit and to do all the things you could before. you want to prove to yourself you can do it. But this strategy won’t work. It will leave you frustrated, keep you *not fixed*… and keep you leaking, or worse :(
Find and Work Those Muscles!
The pelvic floor is a system of muscle, ligaments and nerves. The pelvic floor shouldn’t be too tight or too saggy if it’s to work properly, supporting your bladder, uterus and bowel. Your pelvic floor is also part of your core. The pressure inside your abdomen and pelvis pushing down and causing pelvic floor weakness, is also pushing out contributing to diastasis recti and a weak core generally – it ALL needs to be restored and strengthened if everything is going to look, and work, the way you want it to.
To improve its function, there are many exercises that can strengthen the pelvic floor, and enable it to contract and relax more effectively. If you just do old-school Kegels, there’s a danger that you will squeeze too much, or in the wrong way, which could actually make the muscle weaker.
To really find and work your pelvic floor muscles, you need to focus and ‘connect’ with all three areas of your pelvic floor: the front (where you squeeze to stop yourself urinating), the back (where you stop yourself from passing gas), and the middle (you got pregnant and possibly had your baby using that bit).
Your body’s alignment and the way you carry yourself 24/7 also affects whether you use the pelvic floor muscles, or bear down on them too frequently. If you have the right posture as you move around, your pelvic floor muscles will contract and work involuntarily as they do their job.
Exercises that involve abduction and adduction against resistance – that’s moving your legs apart or squeezing them together, while pushing against something for resistance are hugely effective. In your exercise program, instability and even vibration are helpful in toning the pelvic floor… Using a Swiss ball, bosu, or flexi bars, for example, will give your pelvic floor a challenge.
The key? Your body needs to MOVE to exercise your pelvic floor. It needs to move in good alignment and in all planes.
Mom’s little weakness
If you haven’t experienced wee leakage yet, that’s great. But, if you’ve had babies (by whatever birth method) and you’re not exercising your pelvic floor, you risk facing this moist menace at some point, as well as some of the other problems that stem from pelvic floor weakness. So, act now!
Get familiar with your pelvic floor – learn how to engage it and exercise it, gaining control of how to contract it fully and relax it fully.
Don’t just squeeze it. Move your body – squat, jump, pull, push, lunge and rotate – and make your pelvic floor work harder.
Call it your pelvic floor pension plan.