Before we become pregnant and have babies we are unlikely to have problems with our pelvic floor. This is because the pelvic floor is under subconscious control so when you cough, sneeze, laugh, run and jump the pelvic floor makes adjustments to ensure your pelvic organs and abdominal contents are well supported. Suddenly during pregnancy, or after having a baby (and sometimes before then) your pelvic floor may fail to do all its jobs correctly and you may experience some of the following things:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence; Leakage of urine when you cough/sneeze/ get up from sitting/walk fast/run/ jump on the trampline/ do star-jumps/ dance the siege of Ennis at a wedding
- Urge Urinary Incontinence ie feeling a strong urge to pass water even when you may have gone recently enough before
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence
- Prolapse of one of any of your internal pelvic organs e.g bladder, uterus, rectum
- Pain on sudden movement or during intercourse
- Faecal incontinence or reduced control when you pass wind
- Pain during intercourse ( Dyspareunia)
What do you do if you have any of the above symptoms?
Your first line of treatment is always to do your pelvic floor exercises and this detailed on the page ” your pelvic floor”. Doing Pelvic Floor Exercises may help the problem but it takes lots of exercise! If you feel improvement after about 6 weeks of devotedly doing your exercises at least twice a day, great, keep going and you should continue to improve.
If after 6 weeks of really concentrating on your exercises you don’t feel a change, in my opinion, this is when you should consider going for a physiotherapy consultation. During a pelvic floor assessment, you will learn how well your muscles are functioning at rest and during work. You may require some treatment in the form of manual therapy which will address any problem areas in the muscles e.g trigger points that may be preventing correct movement of the muscles, and you will be given an exercise program that is specific to findings from the assessment.