This week is World Incontinence Week where there is a global effort in increasing awareness of how to take care of your pelvic floor better to treat or prevent any pelvic floor issues such as leakage or prolapse. Here are 5 things you can do to optimise your pelvic floor:
1. Eat Healthy: Eating enough fibre is really important for your gut health and to mimimise constipation. Foods high in fibre can be vegetables, lentils, prunes, kiwi, pear, seeds, whole grain breads, bran and nuts to name just a few. Adults should be eating 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily and the majority of Australians do NOT eat the recommended amount.
2. Drink Healthy: Water is the best drink. Fluids with caffeine, fizzy drinks, alcohol and “diet” drinks can all irritate the bladder to contribute to urgency. Water hydrates our organs as well as our stools which keeps it soft. This will prevent constipation and as a bonus keep your skin looking healthy!
3. Move: Exercise is important to keep our mind, body and spirit healthy, including our bladder and bowels. Aim for 30mins a day where you are puffed. Do something you enjoy. Check with your doctor if you have any medical issues before starting any exercise.
4. Practise healthy bladder and bowel habits: Avoiding constipation should be a life project for us all. Straining to empty our bowels can give unnecessary strain on our pelvic floor and lead to things such as leakage and prolapse. This can be amplified when we age. Learning to empty our bladders when relatively full and making sure it empties fully is important to keep our bladders working well. If you have any issues with emptying bladder or bowels well, it is important to seek help from your GP and/or pelvic floor physiotherapist. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you learn to train your bladder and bowel to empty with control as well as optimising how to empty to minimise stress on your organs. Any issues like leakage or prolapse (when your organs are descending out of your vagina or anus) needs to be addressed.
5. Exercise your pelvic floor: As we age, our bodies get weaker, unless we exercise. This includes our pelvic floor muscles. To keep our pelvic floor co-ordinated to everything we do when we move, we need to practise activating those muscles. We need to learn to use our muscles while we breathe, stand, push, pull, lift, exercise, cough and sneeze to name a few things we do while awake. If you are not sure how to do this contact Inspired Physiotherapy to see our women’s health physiotherapist. She can help you get connected back to your pelvic floor again.
We only have one pelvic floor so we have to take care of it. There is help for those who have any issues. Please consult either your GP or pelvic floor therapist if you need any assistance.