Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Daily Clench Can Help; Well-Executed Exercise Will Tone Your Pelvic Floor

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Daily Clench Can Help; Well-Executed Exercise Will Tone Your Pelvic Floor

Article excerpt

Byline: Miranda Cashin

HIDDEN from view and far from a comfortable conversation topic, the workings and importance of the pelvic floor muscles often remain a mystery.

The pelvic floor muscles attach to the pubic bone and run underneath the body like a muscular trampoline, inserting into the tailbone and stretching from the sit bones on either side of the body. It supports your bladder to help it stay closed and actively squeezes when you cough or sneeze or exercise.

But these muscles often become weak after childbirth or excessive exercising and this can lead to women facing urinary incontinence or bladder leakage.

One-in-three women over 35 experience some form of urinary incontinence, so it's important to get clued up and strengthen these muscles.

Sunshine Coast Private Hospital Medical Centre uro-gynaecologist Dr Peta Higgs said that while weak pelvic floor muscles were often the result of childbirth, women of all ages needed to strengthen their pelvic floor.

"If the muscles are weak when you cough or sneeze or jump around, urine can leak out," she said.

"If you strengthen the muscles, often you can cure it.

"It mainly starts with childbirth but I do see a lot of young women with urinary incontinence caused by playing sport.

"I encourage all ladies to do pelvic floor exercises."

Childbirth often does the most damage. More than half of pregnant women on average report symptoms of urinary incontinence. Strengthening the muscles can decrease the chance of this.

"We hope pelvic floor exercises before, during and following pregnancy can decrease urinary incontinence," Dr Higgs said.

Pelvic floor training is effective, with studies showing cure rates up to about 85%. Pelvic floor and continence physiotherapist Jenny Frangos warned that if the exercises were not done correctly, they could do more harm than good.

She stressed the importance of getting an individually tailored set of exercises and seeking an assessment of whether you are doing them correctly.

"You often can't really tell if you are doing the exercises correctly and actually engaging the pelvic floor muscles," she said. …

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