Pelvic floor 101: A beginner's guide

Let’s face it; there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding pelvic floor exercises  – what they are, how they work and why we should do them. So, we decided to speak to Amanda Savage – a pelvic floor physiotherapist, to chat through some common questions regarding pelvic floor exercises and incontinence in general.

Why should you do pelvic floor exercises?

“It’s common, but it’s not normal because it’s not something you should expect to have, and it’s not something you should feel you have to live with.” 
 
To put it plainly; you shouldn’t be expected to live with incontinence as it’s a problem which can be dealt with, and ultimately cured. So, in order for you to improve your incontinence you need to take a proactive approach and tackle the problem head-on!
 
This includes first buying products, such as pads or liners, so that you’re able to go out and be active without it affecting your daily life. Then you need to start tackling the root of the problem itself by improving your pelvic floor exercises; as strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will give you more control over the opening and closing of your bladder.
 

I do pelvic floor exercises but still leak. Why?

Feeling frustrated that you still leak despite regularly doing pelvic floor exercises? Try not to let this discourage you – you could still have some problems with incontinence and this could be due to a few different reasons... 
 
One could be that your timing is off. For example, you may find that you need to have quite a few goes at engaging your pelvic floor – it’s as simple as remembering to do it before you jump, or just in time for those pesky coughs or sneezes.  
 
Another really common problem is that something might be getting in the way of the muscle working properly like an old scar. Or your pelvic floor muscles could even be too tight – they need to be stretched out to work better (much like your hamstrings when you try and touch your toes!). 
 
 
When to talk to a medical professional about your pelvic floor exercises

Incontinence can most definitely be improved by pelvic floor exercises, but you should look for professional help if you feel like your exercises aren’t helping, or if you’re finding it hard to really get the most from them. 
 
A medical professional can guide you on how to perfect those final stages of muscle engagement, or help you deal with any old scars, as well as do some further bladder or bowel assessment tests. 
 
So now you’ve got all the info you need about the importance of pelvic floor exercises, why not check out our helpful videos from Amanda on how to do them so you can start having a go yourself right away!