Do you pee a little when you laugh, sneeze or exercise? Relax, you’re not alone. In fact, studies show that one in three women over age 30 deal with light bladder leakage (or LBL) regularly - and it’s often due to a weakened pelvic floor. Good news: the, ahem, uplifting thing about pelvic floors is that it’s possible to strengthen yours...and that comes with a host of benefits, including better sex, less back pain, and yep, stronger bladder control. So get ready to laugh hard, sneeze and jump up and down again - consider this post your kickstart to better pelvic floor health.
Your pelvic floor is the term for the muscles and connective tissue that stretch from your tailbone all the way to your pubic bone to hold up your pelvic region (including your bladder, intestines and reproductive organs). If you have regular lower back pain, pain during intercourse, or you have to think twice before you sneeze to keep your underwear dry - pelvic floor physiotherapy might be for you!
After reading her awesome blog post on the subject, we reached out to lead physiotherapist Cassie Dionne from Taylored Training to describe what’s involved in a session (spoiler: no barbells) -
"During your sessions your physiotherapist will assess the strength, endurance, coordination and general functioning of your pelvic floor, making sure to explain everything to you to ensure you feel comfortable the whole time."
She adds out that pelvic floor therapy involves external and internal interventions (so find someone you trust) and can include manual therapy, exercise, behavioral interventions, and biofeedback.
Here are three other ways to treat your pelvic floor right:
- Get informed: the list of symptoms you might experience (and exercises you can do to alleviate them) is substantial - so get to know your pelvic floor with our Kids, Kegels and Leaks post on the basics of your pelvic floor, and our Build A Stronger Core With No Kegels Or Crunches post (this one’s for you, Kegel haters). This aforementioned post that helped us connect to Cassie at Taylored Training is a great introduction to your pelvic floor, and how to strengthen it. And we loved the witty and helpful series My Vagina Has a Personal Trainer: Tales From Pelvic Floor Rehab, which gives you an idea of what physio can feel like.
- Find a pelvic floor physiotherapist you trust: A good physiotherapist is supportive and helps you feel good about yourself and what your body can do. Cassie Dionne adds some more pointers to keep in mind: "See someone who includes an internal portion to their assessment and treatment, not just an external one - because you cannot properly assess the functioning of the muscles without doing so internally. Second, look for a therapist who uses biofeedback as a part of their treatment - it’s a technique that allows you to visually see how well your pelvic floor is working. Lastly, look for a physiotherapist who is also knowledgeable about fitness and who will encourage and guide you on strengthening more than just your pelvic floor. Your body works together as a unit; strengthening your entire body, not just your pelvic floor, is important in treating incontinence.”
- Don’t hold back enjoying life: Bladder leakage is not uncommon and can be addressed. Bodies change, and while you’re figuring out what yours needs, we’ve got you covered. Lunapads underwear and Performa pads are leakproof and comfortable, providing peace of mind for those leaks you weren’t quite prepared for. And, because they work for periods too, you can change how you use them as your muscles get stronger.
Have you done pelvic floor physio? Got some encouragement for our community? We’d love to hear from you in the comments or at email@example.com.