A lot of us know the feeling – in the middle of our running drill or skipping or lifting weights, we need to make a quick dash to the bathroom! This is often a sign of a weakness of the pelvic floor – read on for some tips and information around this topic.
While having a weak pelvic floor is something that is often thought to be an issue that just affects women who have had babies, it can actually affect anyone – men, women, mums and non-mums.
The signs are not just the feeling having to go for a pee, you may also feel the need to do a number two or suffer from flatulence during exercise. These common signs are no reason to be embarrassed and a lot of people experience them, but while they are common – pelvic floor problems should not be considered normal or something to put up with. Without diagnosis and treatment pelvic floor problems will not go away by themselves and can sometimes lead to more serious problems in the future.
The pelvic floor is a complex part of the body and there are a number of reasons that it can start performing less optimally than it should. Some of these reasons include pregnancy and childbirth, being overweight, lifting heavy weights and age. The good news is that while having pelvic floor issues are common, it is also something that can be improved by having a correct diagnosis and following exercises designed to improve and strengthen the area.
It is very important that if you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above then you visit a physiotherapist that specialises in this area. They will do a proper examination and be able to pinpoint the problem and advise ways in which to start to improve and strengthen the area. It is also recommended that ALL women get a check of their pelvic floor health regardless of whether they have children or not.
With regards to exercise - if you know that you suffer from a weak pelvic floor there are few things you can do during your sessions to minimise the effects and make the class more enjoyable for you.
1. Let your trainer know – if we know that this is an issue then we can give you alternatives during the session. Feel free to email or text us if you don’t feel comfortable bringing it up in person.
2. Avoid drinking coffee or a lot of water before you start exercising and make sure you have an empty bladder before you start (go to the bathroom)
3. Avoid heavy weights if you are feeling the need to pee – move to something lighter or body weight.
4. Lower the intensity of the exercise – muscle fatigue can play a part so you may find you notice the weakness towards the end of the workout when you are getting tired.
5. Avoid movements and exercise that put strain on the pelvic floor e.g. skipping, high knees, squat jumps etc. Replace with lower impact alternatives such as stationery squats, walking high knees, front shuffles.
6. Don’t try and hold on if you feel the need to pee – it is a myth that this increases pelvic floor strength. If you need to empty the bladder or bowels then pop to the loo and do it!
There are a number of resources online which offer advice, exercises and support regarding pelvic floor issues and there are also a number of specialist physiotherapist clinics around Sydney that you can visit to get professional advice. Here are a pre we recommend: