This continence awareness article is brought to you by continence.org.au.
It’s scary that Mums (including myself) now think that weeing a bit if we jump or go on a trampoline or just needing to go in a hurry – is normal.
Apparently it is not.
And this is what I found out when I was sent to a ‘Continence Physio’ – something I didn’t even know existed. So, I headed down to Noosa where I met with my Physio, Robyn.
I was a fair bit hesitant and seeing the physio because of the following concerns:
Was she going to stick something up my vagina?
I don’t want something shoved up there….
It’s an invasion of my personal space and I don’t know this person
Will I have to get my pants off?
Incontinence Aids are a million dollar industry now, will I be ‘guilted’ into buying something I can’t afford?
What if I have a real problem?
It is kinda embarrassing to admit that yes, I have ‘let go’ a bit of wee on occasion…..
and after all, I’m a woman, I’ve popped out a couple of kids…. It just happens… Right? Well… wrong!
I also thought that I had the pelvic floor exercise down pat. I was taught (incorrectly it seems) – that if you raise your eyebrows, you are doing in right. So I practise this a lot. Gah…
Robyn was just lovely. The first thing she did was go over the facts about incontinence in Australia…. frightening facts: I’ll list of few here:
- A study done in 2010 found that 4.8 million Australians (or more than a quarter of Australia’s population) aged 15 years and over are living with incontinence.
- Incontinence is more prevalent than asthma.
- Half the women in the community living with incontinence are under 50
Then we went over toilet habits – including no# 2’s. Even how you SIT on a toilet. How long you sit there. And a chart on how to rate your…poo. The result of which was that I needed to sit on the toilet with my tiptoes up – and drink more water – and eat more fibre…. Because the pelvic floor muscles don’t just control how you wee…. they control literally how you move……
Learning to Breathe Right
Before we even THINK about the vagina, she analysed how I breathed and how my chest moved whilst doing it. And the results were that I was a ‘shallow shoulder breather’ which is common in Mums. Because we carry all our stress in our neck and shoulders, so we tend to breathe really shallowly. She said this is why I’d get puffed running short distances, even though I’m relatively fit (that actually made a LOT of sense). She showed me how to take a breath that really reached down into the belly and out through the lungs… and it felt good……. You try breathing, and taking that breathe right down and out…… It is actually really relaxing.
Once I had that down pat, it was time to test the pelvic floor – EEKKKK!
I Had to Take My Pants Off!!!!
Yep. But I was really comfortable with Robyn by then. The rubber gloves went on, and I was covered in a sheet. She put one hand on my belly (just below my ribs) and two fingers on the top side of my vagina…. and then asked me to do my pelvic floor exercises like I have been doing them.
And I got a 1/5 score.That’s so bad…. I’m only just in my forties!
Then Robyn went through the ‘Slingshot’ method of doing pelvic floor exercises, using the new breathing technique. And my score went up to 2.5 first go! So yes, doing the exercises correctly, makes a true difference. And if you think the breathing things is just bullshit, she then did a scan so I could see my bladder on the screen, and doing the new technique with the breathing, I could physically SEE the pelvic floor doing it’s thang! It was epic!
Next Thing, I Had to Walk with Swag……
After that, I got dressed and we walked down to the gym. There she asked me to walk. So I did… But she wanted me to walk with ‘swag’… Walking with swag (putting your hips into it) feels a bit odd, almost like I’m trying to be sexy (and that I’m not!)….. and yes I kinda felt like a tool. That is something I need to practise. But Robyn explained that walking with ‘swag’ used all those pelvic floor muscles and it is actually a great way to walk using all your muscles to pull in your stomach (yay) and exercise EVERYTHING at the same time.
Every woman should do this. What I learned about my own body and how to optimise EVERYTHING without having to buy a specialised product is fantastic. Every woman should know how to do these exercises the right way…… I practise whenever I think of it… and I’ve noticed a huge difference in just a few days. And yes, when I need to go to the toilet urgently (Urge Incontinence) – it is still a tiny leak, but it isn’t as bad already, and I can’t wait to see where I will be in another week or two – just by doing this the right way.
Where to Find a Continence Physio?