Most women wouldn’t think of visiting a physiotherapist for help with issues such as bladder leakage, in fact many women put bladder leakage down to having children, being post menopausal or just assume that it is a normal part of ageing. Bladder leakage is a common problem in women, in fact one in three women who have had a baby has incontinence, and up to 50% of women with incontinence are under 50! Whilst incontinence is so common it should not be thought of as normal. Incontinence can stop individuals participating in sports and hobbies, avoiding social situations and increase the risk of depression.
Incontinence is not only limited to females. Men who have had a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) are also at increased risk of developing incontinence.
Physiotherapy plays a key role in the treatment and prevention of incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles control our bowel and bladder movements. This group of muscles can become weak or dysfunctional just like any other muscles in the body and this can lead to incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises can be done to increase the strength of this muscle group. At Activate Physiotherapy a real time ultrasound machine is used to look at the function of the pelvic floor muscles. Your physiotherapist can then determine an individualised exercise program to improve your pelvic floor. The real time ultrasound provides visual feedback allowing the client to be sure they are correctly activating their pelvic floor.
Some tips for doing your pelvic floor exercises:
- The pelvic floor lift should not feel hard or strenuous, it is a very subtle contraction.
- Place one hand on your abdomen, if you feel your abdominal or six pack muscles tensing when you are doing your pelvic floor contractions you are probably recruiting incorrect muscles.
- Bracing, holding your breath and tensing your stomach muscles while doing strenuous exercise can be detrimental to our pelvic floor as these activities place a lot of extra pressure on our pelvic floor.
- Be consistent and patient, pelvic floor strengthening can take time and these exercises need to be continued over a long period of time for maintained benefit.
Other areas of women’s health our physiotherapists at Activate are able to help with include mastitis and blocked ducts, cracked nipples, back pain during and after pregnancy and ante natal Pilates.
If you would like more information on our women’s health or incontinence services please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Katie at the Claremont clinic.