To squeeze or not to squeeze

We’ve all seen the adverts on TV for pads for bladder leakage for women. I have always found them to be irritating, but the most recent one particularly gets on my nerves somewhat. It has various women talking about their little “accidents” and leakage saying that it’s perfectly normal and the solution? wear a pad! I know it’s a commercial but nearly all the women are relatively young, believing it’s acceptable to regularly “lose a couple of drops”, are they going to wear pads for the rest of their lives?

Yes bladder leakage is a problem, particularly following pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor takes quite a bashing to say the very least. It’s no wonder weakness occurs. Also as we age, even if we haven’t had children, the pelvic floor weakens.

But the pelvic floor is a group of muscles which can be strengthened with just a little bit of daily effort.

When I started my nurse training back in the 80’s at the age of 18 the best bit of advice was given to me by the head of the School of nursing, when she was giving a talk to all the new students. She said that we could prevent becoming old ladies that wet ourselves by simple doing regular pelvic floor exercises from that moment on.

At that time she suggested holding a wee mid flow for a couple of seconds each time we used the toilet, things have moved on a bit since then. Although this is still a good way to find your muscles so you know what to exercise.

A quick Google search led me to this simple regime:

Squeeze the pelvic floor as quickly as possible, rest for 3 – 5 seconds, repeat 10 – 20 times. Repeat exercise twice later in the day.

Interestingly the makers of these pads also have exercises on their websites, starting simple as above and progressing on to include abdominal exercises. It’s just a shame they don’t mention them in their ads. exercises here.

I am aware that not all bladder leakage is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles and the solution is not as simple as doing daily exercises. I am not suggesting this is a fix for everyone.

But if it is the cause of the problem then surely it makes sense to raise awareness and promote these exercises rather than just advocate the wearing of pads. Especially if the problem is caused by pregnancy and childbirth in early/mid adulthood, that will result in a long time wearing pads for something that can be fixed with education and effort.

I think that this education should start earlier, get it into the school curriculum to start children, boys and girls,  thinking about taking responsibility for their wellbeing in adulthood.

 

toilet

 

 

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