Many women experience pelvic health changes after pregnancy, childbirth, the years that follow or in peri menopause or menopause. 10% of all women have pelvic issues (leakage, stress incontinence, prolapse, or a too weak or too tight pelvic floor). 1 in 3 women will experience issues at some point in their life. The most common problems are leaking with exercise, sneezing/coughing (also called Stress Urinary Incontinence) and/or not getting to the toilet on time (also called Urge Incontinence). Other common pelvic health issues include having the sensation of something heavy in the vagina (also called as Pelvic Organ Prolapse) and painful sex (also called Dyspareunia).
The pelvic floor (or pelvic diaphragm) spans across your pelvis from the pubic bone at the front to the coccyx at the back. It is made of different types of muscle fibres, ligaments and fascia. It acts as a support for the structures above (bladder, rectum, cervix, womb, digestive system...). It helps you control wind, pee and poo. It stretches to help you deliver your baby. It also can help improve sex by increasing your sensation and orgasm. Finally, it participates in maintaining the stability of your hips and pelvis.
Pelvic floor exercises consist of exercises which can be done in a multitude of positions.
Practice time! In a comfortable lying down or seated position, imagine that your are trying to stop yourself from passing wind (without squeezing your buttocks together). Draw your pelvic floor muscles upwards and forwards from the back passage towards the front passage, lie a "zip". Fully relax your pelvic floor muscles.
-> Try and repeat this programme 3 times a day (if you are experiencing symptoms, otherwise once a day).
-> Start with 5-10 short squeezes and then build up to 10 long squeezes aiming to hold each squeeze for 10 seconds. You may not be able to hold for 10 seconds straight away so it is important to gradually build up to this at your pace. You may need to start with little and often until the muscles get stronger.
-> You should notice the exercises getting easier in around 3-5 months.
-> And after? Once improved, continue to practice these exercises once a day to maintain strength.
Epi No can help you preparing your pelvic floor muscles for the birth of your baby (alongside perineal massage) and to train your pelvic floor muscles after the birth:
1. Exercises to help control and relax your pelvic floor muscles from 34 weeks 2. Exercises to stretch the perineum from 37 weeks 3. Post-natal pelvic floor muscle exercises
More info on: https://epi-no.co.uk/epi-no-videos/