Take care of your pelvic floor during winter....
With the cold winter weather here it is hard to avoid the sniffles that comes with it. Unfortunately for some, this time of the year is a harsh reminder of pelvic floor problems. Coughs and sneezes are known activities that cause an increase in the intra- abdominal pressure and in the presence of a weak pelvic floor muscles can result in urine loss also known as Stress urinary incontinence. So what can you do about this?
1) Seek help Do not ignore a persistent cough. Speak to your health care provider to make sure you have covered all ground. Commonly ignored is chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, post-nasal drip or asthma/chronic bronchitis. Further investigations may need to be done to rule out something more serious.
2) Check your pelvic floor A pelvic health physiotherapist can assist you in your pelvic health problems by assessing your muscle strength and coordination. If weakness has been identified it is important to get a individualized exercise program that is specific to your needs and abilities.
3) Practice the Knack The knack is a technique where the pelvic floor muscles are squeezed before an activity that increases the abdominal pressure, in this case coughing. This aims to increase the resistance on the downward pressure consequently preventing urine loss.
4) Maintain a healthy weight It has been found that abdominal weight does increase the pressure on the pelvic floor. Research supports weight loss promotes continence even as little as 10% of the body weight.
5) Manage constipation Chronic constipation inevitability places pressure on the pelvic floor. Increase fibre intake through diet to keep bowels soft and easy to pass. A pelvic health physiotherapist can help you in managing stress urinary incontinence. It is important that you are assessed and taught how to perform your exercises correctly to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Further advice can be provided regarding appropriate exercises that effective, fun and most importantly pelvic floor safe. Get the care you deserve!