Today we are chatting with Elaine Miller of Gussie Grip, because we want to learn more about how to best strengthen our pelvic floor muscles.
Elaine is a Chartered Physiotherapist, mother of three, stand up comic, and a woman of a certain age – who has taken what we should be doing, and adding what we like to do… and, it works a treat! So, tell us more, Elaine Miller!
What are pelvic floor exercises?
Your pelvic floor muscles’ job is to support your guts, control peeing/pooing and provide sexual function. Not necessarily in that order…
Stress incontinence is associated with loss of self esteem, depression and poor orgasm quality. Not necessarily in that order…
1:3 women aged 35-55, and half of women over 55 have continence issues, these are conservative estimates. So, you are not alone. This is a common problem, and can be easily treated.
Coughing, laughing, running, jumping, shouting, vomiting, and pregnancy all increase your intra-abdominal pressure. If your abdominal pressure exceeds the power your pelvic floor can generate – you’ll leak.
Risk factors include your family history, being overweight, pregnancy, multiple birth, vaginal delivery, assisted vaginal delivery, smoking, constipation, menopause. So, not having babies, or only having caesarean deliveries are NOT guarantees for a dry life.
Pelvic floor exercises are the most effective treatment for most cases of incontinence. However, you need to actually DO the exercises…follow me on twitter (@gussiegrips) for prompts – when I tweet, you twitch your twinkle).
The exercises are:
1. Hold for 10 secs – you should feel a “drop” when you relax
2. 10 quick flicks
3. Imagine you’ve got a lift in your fanjo – take it to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor. Then back down to the 2nd and 1st. Then relax.
Do that three times a day, every day, and your muscles will be in top condition.
Using a vibrator, or love balls, at the same time will help you identify the muscles – and will provide you with a “reward” for your efforts. There is a study that shows using “vaginal vibration therapy” once a day improves pelvic floor strength in women.
Remember, the exercises work – but only if you do them every single day. If using some equipment encourages you to comply…well, that’s a very good thing indeed.
However, if you have symptoms like: a lump/feeling like something is dropping out, pain during sex, pelvic pain, faecal incontinence, can’t use tampons, or you got to the loo more than 8 times a day or more than twice at night – see your GP or woman’s health physio.