Exercise and your pelvic floor health
FACT: Almost half of all women who exercise regularly experience some degree of stress urinary incontinence.
FACT: Only 30% of these women seek medical attention. Many times an athletic women is so embarrassed to raise the issue with her physician and may wear a pad, modify her technique, or stop exercise all together to cope with her incontinence.
FACT: Stress urinary incontinence is NOT a “normal” effect of aging and it can easily be treated to restore quality of life. There are a wide variety of safe, easy and highly effective treatments available for incontinence and female pelvic disorders, depending on the exact nature of the problem.
Some important dos and don’ts on how to exercise and stay dry.
DON’T strain!! Weight lifting should not cause your eyeballs to bulge of your teeth to grind. If it does, you may be putting too much stress on your pelvic floor.
DON’T engage in vertical deceleration sports. What’s that? Activities such as trampoline jumping, parachute jumping, and perhaps even high impact aerobics can contribute to injuries of the support tissues of your bladder and/or vagina.
DO feel free to exercise aerobically (low impact) as much as you would like. However, do not forget to exercise your pelvic floor, too! This can only be done through kegel exercises.
What are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel, or pelvic floor muscle exercises, are done to strengthen the muscles, which support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum.
Why are they important?
The benefits of achieving and maintaining good pelvic floor muscle tone are many and include:
- Prevention of urinary “dribbling” when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
- Possible prevention of need for surgery later in life to pull up sagging uterus or other pelvic organs.
How to do Kegel Exercises
To identify the correct muscle, sit on the toilet with legs spread apart. Begin to urinate, then contract the muscle (the pubococcygeus muscle) necessary to stop the flow of urine; hold; release.
Repeat until you learn to control this muscle.
After you have determined you are contacting the correct muscle, do NOT stop and start and stop the flow of urine except as an occasional check. We recommend that you incorporate kegel exercises into you r normal bathroom routine. After emptying your bladder, remainseated on the toilet and complete TEN kegel exercises.The Institute for Female Pelvic Medicine is on Facebook