Health & Body

The pelvic floor gets short shrift. We’ve heard of it, we know we’re meant to exercise it, but it won’t affect us, will it? Well, from incontinence to prolapse, one in three women suffer with pelvic floor dysfunction. €œIt’s extremely important for all women to be mindful of the pelvic floor, because it’s involved in controlling three significant functions

your sexual, bladder and bowel functions, says Dr Fiona Reid, consultant urogynaecologist at Central Manchester University Hospitals. Symptoms can develop at any age -and stress, constipation, smoking, weight and genetics can all affect it. Yet 60% of us feel too embarrassed to seek help from a doctor, even though bladder leakage is twice as common as hayfever. The good news? It’s easier than ever to be pelvic floor aware. Here’s how…

LEARN THE BASICS

€œResearch robustly proves that pelvic floor exercises (PFE) help, but you need to make sure you’re using the correct technique, says clinical specialist physiotherapist Katie Mann. The trick is to locate the muscles you’d use if you were stopping a wee mid-flow. Then sit comfortably and squeeze those muscles ten to 15 times in a row, but don’t hold your breath or tighten your stomach, bottom or thighs. €œThe key is to train on the out-breath, adds physiotherapist Maria Elliott.

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